CBS Chairman and CEO Les Moonves is the latest powerful Hollywood executive to face accusations of sexual misconduct. According to a bombshell report from Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker Magazine, six woman accused Moonves of sexually harassing them starting in the late 1980s.
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. All said that he became cold or hostile after they rejected his advances, and that they believed their careers suffered as a result.
The report also found that there was a culture of bad behavior at CBS, which saw men who were accused of sexual harassment get promoted, while the company was paying victims to keep them quiet.
Nineteen current and former employees told me that Jeff Fager, the former chairman of CBS News and the current executive producer of “60 Minutes,” allowed harassment in the division. “It’s top down, this culture of older men who have all this power and you are nothing,” one veteran producer told me. “The company is shielding lots of bad behavior.”
Moonves issued a statement admitting he "may have made some women uncomfortable" but added that he "never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career."
“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,” Moonves said. “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.”
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