CBS Board Opening Moonves Investigation

les moonves

Getty CBS board members suspended CEO Leslie 'Les' Moonves Monday following allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct.

The CBS Board of Directors has decided to hire “outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation” into the allegations against Leslie “Les” Moonves, its president and CEO amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

“CBS Corporation announced today that it’s Board of Directors is in the process of selecting outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation. No other action was taken on this matter at today’s board meeting. Additionally, the board determined to postpone CBS Corporation’s 2018 annual meeting of stockholders that was previously scheduled to be held on August 10. The board will determine a new record date for the 2018 annual meeting and will publicly disclose the new date, time and location.”

USA Today jumped the gun late Monday morning in a tweet alert that said Moonves had been suspended and shortly after, retracted it and said “the decision has not yet been made.”

Deadline reported Monday that Moonves was considering stepping aside.

Following an expose for The New Yorker in The New Yorker published Friday, journalist Ronan Farrow presents allegations of sexual misconduct by Moonves and spells out what appears to be a climate of sexual harassment and looking the other way at CBS.

Farrow’s report includes not just one or two women, but six women, many of whom go on the record, and describe disturbing and systemic patterns of sexual misconduct by Moonves. Women described sexual assaults and sexual misconduct and or harassment at the hands of Moonves since beginning around two decades ago.

Actress, writer, director, and producer Illeana Douglas described in excruciating detail a sexual assault at the hands of Moonves.

Illeana Douglas

GettyActress Illeana Douglas arrives at the 2008 Film Independent’s Spirit Awards held at Santa Monica Beach

After the assault, becuase she said she was not going along with it, she suffered financial and professional retribution, she says. She described as for Moonves, the “perfect victim.”

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Read the full account of the sexual assault and subsequent retaliation Douglas alleges here.

Friday after the story came out, Douglas issued the following statement:

“Real change will occur when victims of sexual assaults are not stigmatized as whistle-blowers, or people was some kind of agenda for coming forward.

Real change will occur when opportunities to work at companies were assaults have occurred are no longer condoned.

Speaking for myself, real change will occur when I can walk through the front doors of CBS and resume the creative and working relationship that was so tragically cut short in 1997.”

Moonves’ wife of 14 years, TV personality Julie Chen, defended her husband said she stands behind him and his statement.”

Julie Chen, Les Moonves

GettyJulie Chen and Les Moonves

In a preemptive statement, Moonves said, in part, that he “recognized that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes and I regret them immensely.”

CBS’ statement Friday, when the story was teased by the Hollywood Reporter and not only got tongues wagging but help to drive CBS stock pries down, said it was looking at the allegations.

“All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously,” the network stated. “The Independent Directors of CBS have committed to investigating claims that violate the Company’s clear policies in that regard. Upon the conclusion of that investigation, which involves recently reported allegations that go back several decades, the Board will promptly review the findings and take appropriate action.”

CBS added: “The timing of this report comes in the midst of the Company’s very public legal dispute. While that litigation process continues, the CBS management team has the full support of the independent board members. Along with that team, we will continue to focus on creating value for our shareowners.”