Dark Side of the Moonves
CBJ — Former CBS CEO Les Moonves will not be getting his $120 million severance package following a sexual misconduct probe at the company.
Moonves, who was forced to resign in September, was alleged to have sexually harassed at least a dozen women. He denies the allegations and has said any sexual relations were consensual, including one woman who repeatedly performed oral sex on him in his office.
After the probe into sexual harassment at the company, CBS announced it was introducing new polices to combat all types of misconduct.
Moonves was once considered to be one of the most powerful people in television. His wife Julie Chen previously served as a co-host on an afternoon talk-show called The Talk but abruptly left when allegations against her husband became public. However, Chen did finish last summer’s Big Brother season and surprised many by signing off as ‘Julie Chen-Moonves’ — something she had never done before. It was viewed as a clear sign she was standing by her embattled husband, who is 21 years her senior. As of now, the 48-year-old Chen is still scheduled to host the next edition of Big Brother on CBS.
A lawyer for Moonves said the CBS board’s conclusion “are without merit” but did not say whether the former CEO would challenge it in arbitration.
The 69-year-old Moonves had been widely admired for turning around the fortunes of CBS when he took over as entertainment chief in 1995 with such hits as “Two and a Half Men” and “Survivor.” He was also one of the highest-paid television network executives in the United States, making about $70 million in each of the past two years.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents four women who have accused Moonves of misconduct, called on CBS to publicly release the details of the investigators’ findings and compensate those with provable misconduct claims.
Three major figures at CBS have lost their jobs over misconduct allegations: Moonves, “60 Minutes” top executive Jeff Fager, and news anchor Charlie Rose.
A search for a new CEO is ongoing to replace interim CEO Joe Ianniello.