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CBS chief resigns after assault claims

September 10, 2018

Police have called the allegations against the veteran television executive Les Moonves "credible and consistent." CBS was reportedly already working on Moonves' exit from the company.

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves
Image: Reuters/L. Nicholson

US broadcaster CBS announced late on Sunday that CEO Les Moonves had stepped down, shortly after the New Yorker magazine reported new sexual misconduct allegations against him.

A total of 12 women have now made claims of harassment against the powerful executive going back as far as the 1980s.

At least one of the women, longtime television executive Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, was told by police that her claims of violent assault by Moonves were "credible and consistent," but that unfortunately the statute of limitations had expired.

Moonves was reportedly made aware of Golden-Gottlieb's legal claim last fall, but failed to inform members of the CBS board.

CBS had already prepared Moonves exit

According to the New Yorker article, CBS was already negotiating Moonves' exit after the first allegations against him surfaced last month. The network had already announced an investigation into the claims.

Another accuser told the magazine that it was "completely disgusting" that Moonves was reportedly going to walk away from the company with a $100 million (€86,000) severance package.

In response, CBS issued a statement saying "Moonves will not receive any severance benefits at this time (other than certain fully accrued and vested compensation and benefits); any payments to be made in the future will depend upon the results of the independent investigation and subsequent board evaluation."

The article exposing Moonves was penned by Ronan Farrow, one of the key journalists responsible for exposing the Harvey Weinstein scandal last fall and setting off the #MeToo movement, for which Farrow was a corecipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

es/kl (AP, AFP)