Leslie Moonves, chairman and CEO of the CBS Corporation, has been accused of sexual harassment, according to journalist Ronan Farrow, whose reporting on sexual misconduct a year ago helped launch the Me Too movement.
The directors' statement said that "all allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously", and that the group would investigate any claims that violated the company's policies. When that investigation is finished, the board will "take appropriate action", it said. At CBS News, home to Charlie Rose before dozens of women accused him of harassment, 19 employees claimed that former chairman and current 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager allowed harassment within his division.
That legal dispute, of course, is ongoing litigation between Moonves and Shari Redstone, who is the controlling shareholder in both CBS and Viacom.
"Along with that team, we will continue to focus on creating value for our shareowners", the statement said. The two are now battling for control of the company.
Even before the story is up, CBS' stock dropped sharply and the company's board promised it would investigate his behavior. Moonves also oversees Showtime and a film division, among other assets. He is now embroiled in a fight with Shari Redstone of Viacom Corp., which is trying to merge with CBS.
FBN's Neil Cavuto on the sexual misconduct allegations against CBS CEO Leslie Moonves.
In response to the bombshell allegations, Moonves acknowledged in a statement that he made women feel uncomfortable.
"Moonves provides strong consistent leadership, particularly in light of the breadth of his institutional knowledge of all aspects of the Company's businesses", CBS said in its annual proxy filing. He joined CBS in 1995, working his way up to president in 1998 and chairman in 2003, the year it became America's most watched network.
Ronan Farrow's New Yorker story is already causing a massive stir, despite the fact that it hasn't been published and no one outside the publication knows exactly what it will say.
A prominent actress who played a police officer on a long-running CBS program, who was too frightened of reprisals to use her name, said that she also attended a business meeting with Moonves that ended in unwanted advances.
"Ms. Redstone hopes that the investigation of these allegations is thorough, open and transparent".
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