CBS’ chief executive Moonves resigns over allegations of sexual harassment

AP, NEW YORK

Tue, Sep 11, 2018 - Page 7

CBS chief executive Les Moonves resigned on Sunday, just hours after six more women accused the veteran television executive of sexual misconduct.

The resignation is effective immediately, CBS said in a statement posted on its Web site on Sunday night.

The New Yorker magazine reported the latest allegations included Moonves forcing women to perform oral sex and retaliating when advances were turned away.

Moonves acknowledged relations with three of the women, but said that they were consensual and he had never used his position to hurt women’s careers.

The network did not address the allegations directly, but said that Moonves would donate US$20 million to one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace.

“The donation, which will be made immediately, has been deducted from any severance benefits that may be due Moonves,” the statement said.

Moonves again denied the allegations in a statement issued late on Sunday night.

“Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am,” he said.

“I am deeply saddened to be leaving the company,” Moonves added, calling it “an incredible privilege” to have worked for CBS.

“The best part of this journey has been working alongside the dedicated and talented people in this company,” he said.

Hours before his resignation, the New Yorker magazine reported sexual misconduct allegations from six additional women against Moonves, who was already under investigation for similar allegations made by six others.

As that investigation progressed, it was widely reported that Moonves would leave the network shortly and was negotiating a severance package.

However, CBS on Sunday said that no severance agreement has been reached.

Moonves joined CBS as head of entertainment in 1995, and has been CEO of CBS Corp since 2006, leading the CBS network, Showtime TV network and other entities.

One of Moonves’ accusers, Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, also reported her accusations to Los Angeles police last year, but they were not pursued because the statute of limitations had expired.

She said that Moonves, while an executive at the Lorimar production studio in the late 1980s, pushed her head into his lap and forced her to perform oral sex.

At another time, she said that an angry Moonves pushed her hard against a wall and when she resisted later advances, she began to be frozen out at the company.

“He absolutely ruined my career,” she told The New Yorker.

Another woman, Jessica Pallingston, said that Moonves forced her to perform oral sex on her first day working as his assistant at Warner Bros productions.

Other women told the magazine of unwanted touching or advances.

In a statement to the magazine, Moonves said the “appalling accusations” are untrue, but he acknowledged consensual relations with three of the women before he started working at CBS.