CBS chief Leslie Moonves hit with damning new sexual misconduct allegations

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A New Yorker article exposing sexual misconduct allegations against CBS CEO Leslie Moonves is set to publish. That’s according to The Hollywood Reporter. Veuer’s Sam Berman has the full story.
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Six more women accused CBS CEO Leslie Moonves of sexual misconduct and intimidation in a bombshell report published Sunday by The New Yorker, as reports swirl that the 68-year-old corporate chief is in negotiations to leave the company.

Multiple news outlets, including The Los Angeles Times and CNN, say he’s expected to step down by Monday. 

The investigative report by Pulitzer Prize winner Ronan Farrow includes allegations that Moonves forced oral sex, exposed himself, committed violent acts and derailed careers in incidents that occurred from the 1980s to the early 2000s. It follows a previous Farrow report from late July that featured accusations from six other women.

In the new report, the accusers, who give their names, describe a range of damning actions.

Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, who was a Moonves colleague at Lorimar-Telepictures studio in the 1980s, describes an incident in 1986 in which she says Moonves forced her to perform oral sex.

She says Moonves suggested going to lunch on a work day, but instead drove to a secluded area where he “grabbed my head and he took it all the way down onto his penis, and pushed his penis into my mouth.”

In later incidents, she says Moonves left his office and returned not wearing pants and that he threw her against the wall. Other women describe forced kissing, groping, propositions, with many of the encounters taking place during work time, as well as later efforts to harm careers.  

Moonves, in a statement to The New Yorker, acknowledged three encounters before his tenure at CBS, but said they were consensual and added: “The appalling accusations in this article are untrue. … And I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women. … 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.” 

In a statement sent to USA TODAY on Sunday, CBS Corporation says: “CBS takes these allegations very seriously. Our Board of Directors is conducting a thorough investigation of these matters, which is ongoing.”  

CBS began an investigation, hiring two outside law firms, shortly after the allegations in the original New Yorker story about Moonves. Speculation about his departure rose last week with news reports that the executive was in negotiations to leave with a potential payout of $100 million.

The accusations and investigation take place in a time of corporate ferment, as CBS and Moonves have been waging a legal battle to prevent a merger with another media giant, Viacom. There has been much speculation that the fate of Moonves could affect that matter. 

This report is developing.

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