CBS investigates misconduct claims after CEO Les Moonves accused of sexual assault | News | DW | 28.07.2018
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CBS investigates misconduct claims after CEO Les Moonves accused of sexual assault

Following the publication of an article accusing CBS CEO Les Moonves of sexual assault, CBS has launched an investigation. The US broadcaster said "appropriate action" would be taken once the investigation is complete.

American broadcaster CBS on Friday said it was investigating personal misconduct allegations after the company's chairman and CEO, Les Moonves, was accused of sexual harassment and assault.

The allegations against Moonves were revealed in a New Yorker article published online late Friday, which detailed the experiences of six women who worked with him between the 1980s and late 2000s.

Read more: Opinion: Why time's up for Harvey Weinstein

"Four described forcible touching or kissing during business meetings, in what they said appeared to be a practiced routine. Two told me that Moonves physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers," journalist Ronan Farrow wrote. "All said that he became cold or hostile after they rejected his advances, and that they believed their careers suffered as a result," he added.

Among the women quoted in the article were actor Illeana Douglas, writer Janet Jones and producer Christine Peters.

Farrow won a Pulitzer Prize in April this year for his work with The New Yorker that unveiled the sexual allegations brought against Harvey Weinstein.

Farrow wrote that "thirty current and former employees of CBS told me that such behavior extended from Moonves to important parts of the corporation, including CBS News and '60 Minutes,' one of the network's most esteemed programs."

Read more: Opinion: Why 2018 is the year of the woman

"During Moonves's tenure, men at CBS News who were accused of sexual misconduct were promoted, even as the company paid settlements to women with complaints," the article continued.

The #MeToo movement, which gained momentum after the Weinstein allegations came out, has seen a number of high profile executives, businessmen, politicians and entertainers be accused of sexual misconduct.

CBS to 'take appropriate action'

CBS said it takes all allegations of personal misconduct seriously and that the independent directors are "investigating claims that violate the company's clear policies in that regard."

The company did not name Moonves but said it had issued the statement in response to the New Yorker article.

CBS said that once the investigation by independent members of its board had been completed, the full corporate board would review the findings and "take appropriate action."

Read more: What do Europeans consider sexual harassment?

In December Moonves helped to found the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, the New Yorker reported.

"It's a watershed moment … I think it's important that a company's culture will not allow for this. And that's the thing that's far-reaching. There's a lot we're learning. There's a lot we didn't know," it quoted Moonves as saying at a conference in November.

law/bw (AFP, AP)

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