Moonves Keeps His Job For Now as CBS Looks for Independent Investigator

Les Moonves

CBS faces major challenges if CEO Les Moonves is sidelined while the CBS board investigates sexual harassment allegations against him.

Following Monday's board meeting, CBS announced that it postponed the company's 2018 annual meeting of stockholders that was previously scheduled for August 10 until further notice. The accusations, published in The New Yorker on Friday, included claims of groping, forced kissing, and retaliation. The CBS board of directors is set to meet later today to consider its options amid the growing crisis.

Early trading shows CBS's shares are down almost 4 percent at around $52.00 at 7:10 am PST after tumbling 6 percent Friday following the release of Ronan Farrow's bombshell expose, in which six women accused Moonves of sexual harassment dating back more than two decades. "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", she said, calling for a "thorough, open and transparent" investigation.

But he added that he had "never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone's career".

In a statement to The New Yorker that was also obtained by CNN, Moonves said he has "promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees" throughout his tenure at CBS.

Moonves, 68, is one of the global media industry's highest-paid executives and could receive a severance package of more than $180 million based on his contract and the terms of his departure, according to CBS filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ambiguous comments from homeland chief on election meddling
It took the president several attempts to walk back his comments, amplifying the fallout from his joint appearance with Putin. In May, she said she was unaware of intelligence assessments concluding that the Kremlin was clearly playing favorites.

Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corporation speaks at the Wall Street Journal Digital Live conference at the Montage hotel in Laguna Beach, California, US October 21, 2015.

CBS shares plunged on news of the company's investigation.

Dinah Kirgo shared a similar story in which Moonves feigned interest in a business meeting only to pursue a dinner with her alone.

The allegations come as Moonves is in a power struggle with majority shareholder of both CBS and Viacom, Shari Redstone.

The statement from the board also did not address claims in The New Yorker about the culture at "60 Minutes" and its executive producer Jeff Fager.

Six former employees told Farrow that Fager would touch employees in ways that made them uncomfortable at company parties, and in one instance made a drunken advance toward one junior staffer. He is the latest Hollywood bigwig to be accused of sexual misconduct.

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