Les Moonves, the chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation, has been accused of sexual harassment and intimidation by six women. And dozens more describe a culture of abuse at the media corporation, according to recent reporting by Ronan Farrow for The New Yorker.
Ronan’s eight-month-long investigation for The New Yorker reveals shocking and upsetting details about Moonves and CBS. We’ve summarized some of the most prominent revelations in the report:
After Farrow’s report on now-disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein, Moonves helped to found the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace. “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,” Moonves said in November.
Six women who worked professionally with Moonves from the 1980s until the early 2000s told Farrow the CEO sexually harassed them.
Four of the women said Moonves forcibly touched or kissed them during their encounters, acts which they claimed appeared to be a practiced routine.
Two of the women alleged that Moonves physically intimidated them or threatened their careers.
All six women claimed Moonves became cold or hostile after he was rejected. All six also said they believe their careers have been negatively affected as a result. “What happened to me was a sexual assault, and then I was fired for not participating,” Illeana Douglas, the actress and writer, told Farrow.
All six women told Farrow that they still fear speaking out against Moonves would lead to career-ending retaliation. Writer Janet Jones told Farrow, “He has gotten away with it for decades, and it’s just not O.K.” Jones alleged that Moonves forcibly kissed her during a professional meeting, causing her to shove him off of her body.
Thirty current and former CBS employees told Farrow that Moonves’s aforementioned behavior extended to other parts of the company, including CBS News and 60 Minutes.
Under Moonves’s leadership, men accused of sexual misconduct at CBS were promoted, even while the corporation paid settlements to the female accusers.
Moonves has responded to the New Yorker report in a statement, saying, “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.”
CBS also responded to the report saying, “CBS is very mindful of all workplace issues and takes each report of misconduct very seriously. We do not believe, however, that the picture of our company created in The New Yorker represents a larger organization that does its best to treat its tens of thousands of employees with dignity and respect. We are seeing vigorous discourse in our country about equality, inclusion, and safety in the workplace, and CBS is committed to being part of the solution to those important issues.”
Photo credit: Stephanie Murphy Locke/ Facebook.
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