Les Moonves reportedly resigning, 12 women allege sexual misconduct

Carla Harmon
September 10, 2018

The head of United States media giant CBS, Les Moonves, who faces sexual misconduct allegations from a number of women, is set to leave his post, USA media say.

Moonves has responded to the New Yorker story, acknowledging three of the encounters but saying they were consensual. "Many of the women found that very, very frustrating".

His interim replacement will be chief operating officer Joseph Ianniello while the board searches for a permanent successor.

These are the latest accusations against Moonves after a July report from Farrow in The New Yorker prompted the CBS board to look at Moonves' departure and current investigation, which CBS said was being handled by outside counsel.

The settlement and Moonves' resignation could be announced as early as before the markets open on Monday, according to these sources who asked not to be identified because the plans have not been made public.

Activists railed against any potential exit compensation for Moonves on Sunday shortly after The New Yorker published its second report describing sexual harassment and assault allegations against the longtime media mogul. The author is Ronan Farrow, whose reporting previously helped topple movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Reuters could not immediately reach them for comment.

After weeks of allegations of sexual misconduct and months of a bitter legal battle with National Amusements, CBS CEO Les Moonves is out and Shari Redstone can declare victory, again.

CBS CEO Les Moonves attends the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 11, 2018 in Sun Valley, Idaho. 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. "We will accept nothing less than full transparency of the investigation's findings, a commitment to real change across all levels of CBS management and no reward for Les Moonves", Time's Up, a campaign against workplace sexual misconduct, said in a statement.

Redstone's allies will point to her position as controlling shareholder; accuse Moonves of plotting a jailbreak attempt; and cite the misconduct allegations. They also said Moonves tried to sabotage their careers when they rejected his advances.

Moonves gave the The New Yorker a statement strongly denying any wrongdoing and his wife Julie Chen has been defending her husband. Redstone and her father Sumner, through their holding company National Amusements, owns the majority of voting shares in CBS and Viacom. "The actions described in this article are those of sexual assault and shame on anyone else in the corporation who knew about his crimes". The Time's Up advocacy group issued a statement on Thursday blasting CBS for considering such a sum in light of the allegations.

"What happened to me was a sexual assault, and then I was sacked for not participating", actress and writer Illeana Douglas told the magazine in the July report.

"Once that report is delivered, CBS will begin to negotiate the financial terms of Moonves' exit package", sources told the news outlet.

The magazine on Sunday reported the on-the-record accounts of six women alleging that Moonves assaulted and harassed them, including by forcing oral sex, exposing himself without their consent, being physically violent and otherwise retaliating against them professionally when they rebuffed his advances.

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