CBS Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves, already under fire for multiple sexual misconduct allegations, faces more of the same from six women who came forward in a New Yorker article Sunday.
About three hours after the article appeared, reports surfaced that Moonves is stepping down, the New Yorker stated in a blurb added to the top of its article.
Moonves is expected to resign Monday, Reuters reported.
What are the allegations?
Allegations against the CBS executive include coercing women to perform oral sex, exposing himself, forcibly kissed unwilling participants, and threatening to derail the careers of those who rejected him.
The reported list of accusers include Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, Jessica Pallingston, Deborah Green, Deborah Morris, Linda Silverthorn and Deborah Kitay. Each came forward to describe an alleged incident involving Moonves.
How did Moonves respond?
Moonves vehemently denied the allegations. He told the New Yorker:
The appalling accusations in this article are untrue. What is true is that I had consensual relations with three of the women some 25 years ago before I came to CBS. And I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women. In my 40 years of work, I have never before heard of such disturbing accusations. I can only surmise they are surfacing now for the first time, decades later, as part of a concerted effort by others to destroy my name, my reputation, and my career. Anyone who knows me knows that the person described in this article is not me.”
In one example, Golden-Gottlieb, a veteran television executive, told the publication she filed a criminal complaint late last year with the Los Angeles Police Department.
She alleges that Moonves had physically restrained her, and forced her to perform oral sex on him, and often exposed himself. In a later incident, he allegedly threw her against a wall. Moonves and Golden-Gottlieb reportedly worked together in the late 1980s.
Law enforcement told the New Yorker that Golden-Gottlieb’s allegations appeared credible. But prosecutors declined to pursue charges because the statutes of limitations had expired. Early this year, Moonves told part of the CBS board about the criminal investigation, according to the article.
Moonves had previously spoken in support of Hollywood’s #MeToo movement, and helped establish the Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace with Anita Hill as the chair.
Moonves, 68, oversaw shows ranging from “60 Minutes” to “The Big Bang Theory.” His portfolio also includes the premium cable channel Showtime, the publishing house Simon & Schuster, and a streaming service, CBS All Access, according to the New Yorker.
Last year, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, he "earned nearly seventy million dollars, making him one of the highest-paid corporate executives in the world,” according to reports.
What was being negotiated?
According to Deadline, a $100 million package that was under discussion is now apparently off the table. The figure is now estimated to be between $25 million to $35 million.