CBS execs refuse to answer questions about alleged sexual harassment on earnings call

Reporter
Yahoo Finance

CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves joined the media giant’s second-quarter earnings call with analysts on Thursday, but would not take questions about the sexual harassment allegations made against him.

“[In] light of pending litigation and other matters and on the advice of counsel, the scope of today’s call and any questions will be limited to the quarterly results of the company,” Adam Townsend, executive vice president of corporate finance, said before handing the call off to Moonves.

During the Q&A section of the call, analysts avoided the issue and focused their questions on high-level business matters.

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Last week, Ronan Farrow, who won the Pulitzer for his investigative reporting on Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged sexual predation, published an article for The New Yorker detailing allegations from six women of sexual misconduct by Moonves spanning three decades. The claims ranged from forced kissing, unwanted touching, and threats to derail careers.

“I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career,” Moonves said in a statement to The New Yorker. 

On Wednesday, the CBS board hired law firms Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton to conduct an investigation into the allegations.

CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves (L) is joined by CBS Outdoor Americas Inc. CEO Jeremy Male during an interview prior to their company’s IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, NY, U.S., March 28, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves (L) is joined by CBS Outdoor Americas Inc. CEO Jeremy Male during an interview prior to their company’s IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, NY, U.S., March 28, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

CBS reported second-quarter earnings of $1.12 per share, beating analysts’ expectations of $1.11. Revenue for the quarter came in at $3.47 billion versus estimates of $3.46 billion.  

Shares of CBS (CBS) have dropped nearly 9% since the news broke. The stock was down more than 1% in the after-hours session.

On the call, Moonves touted CBS’s “very strong quarter,” pointing to subscriber growth for All Access and Showtime, the creation of premium content, and advertising growth.

Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter. Send tips to laroche@oath.com.

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