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NY city, state officials join investigation of alleged sexual misconduct, working environment at CBS

File photo of Leslie Moonves. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for Showtime)

City and state officials have joined an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by former chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, Variety magazine reported. Also under review are concerns about the “working environment” at the news outlet.

What happened?

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, CBS disclosed on Friday that is was subpoenaed by the New York District Attorney’s office and the city’s Commission on Human Rights. The New York State Attorney General’s office also requested “information about these matters,” the report stated.

CBS did not elaborate on the filing.

“The Company is cooperating with the ongoing investigation and related inquiries,” the filing states.

CBS also faces an investigation by two outside law firms into the Moonves allegations, as first reported by the New Yorker magazine. Women told the publication they faced a “frequently hostile working environment,” especially at “60 Minutes,” the acclaimed news magazine show. The show’s longtime executive producer, Jeff Fager, was fired earlier this month over sexual misconduct allegations.

Moonves was forced to resign Sept. 9 amid accusations sexual misconduct and that he used his clout to derail the careers of women who rebuffed him. He has denied most of the allegations against him.

Other turmoil at the new outlet includes a legal battle in May against CBS’ controlling shareholder, National Amusements, Inc. The case was settled on Sept. 9, followed by the installation of “six new board members on the 13-member panel,” Variety reported. Two other longtime board members resigned this week and Richard Parsons, the former head of Time Warner, was named interim chairman, the report stated.

Finally, CBS is searching for a new CEO. Joe Ianniello, CBS’ chief operating officer, is serving as the acting CEO as the search continues.

What is the background?

Dozens of women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct and assault after the New York Times and the New Yorker reported on accusations against Harry Weinstein, the former film producer and Hollywood mogul. Weinstein was later fired by the movie and television studio he helped to found. Additionally, he resigned from Weinstein Company’s board.

About one year ago, the Weinstein debacle sparked what became known as the #MeToo movement. The movement has helped expose and illustrate the problem of sexual assault and harassment toward women, especially in the workplace. It also has empowered women to stand up to their abusers.

On the other hand, the movement has sparked concerns that an accuser could put a company into a tailspin and end high-profile careers with little to no "proof."

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