CBS chief Les Moonves will reportedly step down after sexual abuse allegations
CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves will reportedly step down by Monday following new allegations of sexual abuse, Variety reported Sunday.
The news comes hours after the New Yorker published an article by journalist Ronan Farrow detailing six women’s accounts of Moonves’ sexual abuse. The accounts published Sunday focus on events that took place between the 1980s and early 2000s, including alleged instances of Moonves forcing women to perform oral sex on him; unwanted touching and kissing; and one event in which Moonves allegedly “violently” threw executive Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb against a wall.
“The appalling accusations in this article are untrue,” Moonves said in a statement to the New Yorker. “What is true is that I had consensual relations with three of the women some 25 years ago before I came to CBS. And I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women. In my 40 years of work, I have never before heard of such disturbing accusations. I can only surmise they are surfacing now for the first time, decades later, as part of a concerted effort by others to destroy my name, my reputation, and my career. Anyone who knows me knows that the person described in this article is not me.”
Sunday’s New Yorker piece comes less than two months after the publication’s first piece exposing Moonves’ sexual misconduct allegations in July, in which six women accused Moonves of sexual misconduct and intimidation.
According to Variety, exit negotiations had already been underway for Moonves to leave CBS in the wake of the initial allegations, which reportedly included an $100 million severance package for Moonves. CBS has not commented on the current status of Moonves’ employment, though sources cited by Variety believe he will now exit the company by Monday.
“CBS takes these allegations very seriously,” CBS said in a statement quoted by Variety. “Our Board of Directors is conducting a thorough investigation of these matters, which is ongoing.”