CBS will investigate Les Moonves: 'All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously'

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CBS plans to investigate sexual misconduct allegations against its CEO, Leslie Moonves. The network released a statement ahead of a New Yorker article that is reportedly set to publish on Friday, detailing Moonves’s alleged inappropriate behavior over the years.

“All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously,” CBS tells Yahoo Entertainment in a statement. “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.”

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CBS’s chief executive Leslie Moonves. (Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)
CBS’s chief executive Leslie Moonves. (Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the New Yorker‘s exposé on Moonves comes from Ronan Farrow, whose reporting on sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein earned him a Pulitzer Prize. The allegations against Moonves “are said in part to involve instances of unwanted kissing and touching that occurred more than 20 years ago, as well as numerous claims that occurred more recently,” according to THR. Farrow has reportedly been investigating claims against Moonves for months, as well as the working environment at CBS as a whole.

Moonves, who also serves as the chairman of the board and president of CBS, has been engaged in a public legal battle with Shari Redstone, the controlling shareholder in both CBS and Viacom. The two are at odds over the future of the company, with CBS’s management and board trying to dilute her power. They are set to appear in court this fall. The latter part of the network’s statement seems to suggest that the timing of the New Yorker piece might not be coincidental. Some within CBS reportedly believe that Redstone might have contributed information for the article, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Without naming names, CBS’s Friday statement alludes to the ongoing tug-of-war. “The timing of this report comes in the midst of the Company’s very public legal dispute. While that litigation process continues, the CBS management team has the full support of the independent board members. Along with that team, we will continue to focus on creating value for our shareowners.”

A representative for Shari Redstone stated, “The malicious insinuation that Ms. Redstone is somehow behind the allegations of inappropriate personal behavior by Mr. Moonves or today’s reports is false and self-serving. Ms. Redstone hopes that the investigation of these allegations is thorough, open and transparent.”

CBS shares dropped more than 5 percent Friday ahead of the expected article. As everyone awaits Farrow’s piece, he shared the following tweet.

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