CBS CEO Les Moonves Accused Of Sexual Misconduct, And CBS Has Responded

les moonves cbs

CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie "Les" Moonves has been accused of sexual misconduct, and CBS' board of directors has already spoken out on the matter. Let's start with the original report of the allegations against Moonves.

A recent report from The New Yorker says that six women who dealt with Les Moonves on a professional basis, including actress and writer Illeana Douglas, have alleged that he sexually harassed them, with all the instances occurring from the 1980s through the late 2000s. Four of these women claim that the harassment involved "forcible touching or kissing" while business meetings were going on, and noted that the behavior appeared to be a "practiced routine" of his. Two of the women alleging harassment said that Moonves either threatened to hurt their careers or physically intimidated them, while all six of the women said that Moonves became hostile or cold toward them once they rebuffed his advances, and all also believe their careers were derailed as a result.

The article also notes that 30 former and current employees for CBS spoke to the reporter and confirmed that such behavior was rather common at the network, especially with regards to CBS News and the long-running news magazine 60 Minutes. These employees allege that, during Moonves' tenure, other men accused of sexual misconduct were allowed to move ahead at the company, while CBS also paid settlements to their accusers. The account from The New Yorker couldn't confirm that Moonves actually knew about every harassment claim, but he's been known as someone who's very involved in management decisions at all levels of the company.

For his part, Les Moonves has offered a statement with regards to the allegations against him:

Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company. I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected---and abided by the principle---that 'no' means 'no,' and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone's career. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.

It's clear from the above statement issued by Les Moonves that he feels nothing he did crossed the line into harassment or physical threats, and also that he believes the time of his "mistakes" ended "decades ago." The board of directors at CBS have also released a statement on the allegations against him, which was obtained by TV Guide. Here's what they had to say:

All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously. The Independent Directors of CBS have committed to investigating claims that violate the Company's clear policies in that regard. Upon the conclusion of that investigation, which involves recently reported allegations that go back several decades, the Board will promptly review the findings and take appropriate action.

It will likely take a while for the investigation into these allegations to be completed, but CinemaBlend will keep you up to date on the claims against Les Moonves as more details become available.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.