UPDATED 7/27/18 5:55 p.m. ET: The New Yorker has published its report on Leslie Moonves.
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CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, 68, is accused of sexual misconduct in a new article written by Ronan Farrow for The New Yorker, The Hollywood Reporter has discovered. The article is set to be posted on the magazine’s website sometime on Friday, though a spokesperson for the publication refused to comment on “pieces we haven’t published.”
The allegations against Moonves reportedly include unwanted kissing and touching, and they include instances that date to 20 years ago as well as more recently. The article will explore the “broader culture at CBS,” a result of months of investigation by Farrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize this year for his reporting in The New Yorker on the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
“All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously," CBS said 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.”
The timing of this report comes in the middle of another controversy. Moonves is currently in a legal battle with Shari Redstone, the controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom. Redstone wanted to merge the two companies, and CBS sued her earlier this year in an attempt to keep her from doing so. In response, Redstone sued Moonves, arguing he did not have the right to prevent her from controlling CBS. It is unclear if the allegations will affect the lawsuits.
“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,” the statement continued.
Moonves has been working at CBS since 1995 and been president and CEO since 2006. When he initially joined the company, he also helped the network’s ratings jump from last to first place as it introduced shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, Survivor and CSI. He is further credited with the company's more recent success, which saw CBS rank as the most-watched network in terms of total viewers in 2017.
CBS was heavily criticized when multiple women came forward to accuse the network's longtime employee, Charlie Rose, of sexual misconduct. The Washington Post found that CBS managers had been alerted to Rose's inappropriate behavior at least three times, as early as 1986 and as recently as 2017, but failed to act before the allegations were made public.