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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

CBS CEO and Chairman Les Moonves, who is accused of six incidents of sexual harassment, led CBS' second quarter earnings call Thursday, touting the success and growth of the broadcaster's streaming properties.

Why it matters: In letting Moonves lead the call and take questions from investors, CBS sent Wall Street a clear message: He's not going anywhere, for now.

"CBS’ strong second quarter puts us firmly on track to deliver the record full-year results we have forecast,” Moonves said in a statement ahead of the presentation.

The company warned at the top of the call that the discussion and questions from investors would be "limited to the quarterly results of the company."

  • Executives gave long-winded introductions, running the clock for nearly a half hour before opening up the call to investors.

Investors played along, asking only questions about business, revenue, programming, products and market competition. No one brought up the sexual harassment allegations against Moonves at all.

  • There were also no questions about CBS' ongoing legal fight for independence with its parent company, National Amusements Inc., and its Vice Chairwoman Shari Redstone.

Between the lines: In ignoring the elephant in the room, CBS management, Les Moonves, and investors sent a clear signal to the world that business will carry on as usual until there's more proof that Moonves crossed a line that CBS won't tolerate.

What's next: The Hollywood Reporter's Tatiana Siegel reports that Ronan Farrow, who originally broke the news in a New Yorker piece last week, has another Les Moonves story coming "in a week or two."

Go deeper: Axios Business Editor Dan Primack and I react to the stunning earnings call on Dan's Pro Rata podcast. Listen here.

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dave Lawler, author of World
6 hours ago - World

Alexey Navalny detained after landing back in Moscow

Navalny and his wife shortly before he was detained. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow on Sunday, which came five months after he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. He returned despite being warned that he would be arrested.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.

Mike Allen, author of AM
8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.