CBS Corp CEO Les Moonves will be stepping down within the next 24 hours, after six additional women have come forward with sexual assault and harassment claims against the executive, making 12 accusers in total according to Reuters.
Word of Moonves’ ouster comes hours after The New Yorker published a second expose by Ronan Farrow, the journalist who took down Harvey Weinstein.
The new allegations from the 1980’s through the early 2000’s include claims that “Moonves forced them to perform oral sex on him, that he exposed himself to them without their consent, and that he used physical violence and intimidation against them” according to the New Yorker.
One of the women with allegations against Moonves, a veteran television executive named Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, told me that she filed a criminal complaint late last year with the Los Angeles Police Department, accusing Moonves of physically restraining her and forcing her to perform oral sex on him, and of exposing himself to her and violently throwing her against a wall in later incidents.
Jessica Pallingston, a writer, alleges that Moonves coerced her into performing oral sex on him when she worked as his temporary assistant, in the nineties, and that, after she repelled subsequent sexual advances, he became hostile, at one point calling her a “cunt.”
Moonves “grabbed my head and he took it all the way down onto his penis, and pushed his penis into my mouth.” She said he held her head in place forcibly. “He came very quickly,” she recalled.
Then “he said, ‘I want you to suck my cock.’ ” She recalled mumbling “O.K.,” and Moonves grabbing her head and forcing it onto his penis. “He kept his clothes on. He had Calvin Klein underpants. He pushed my head down, hard,” she said. “It was very violent, very aggressive –New Yorker
The new reports come amid rumors of a $100 million exit package, however CBS News correspondent David Begnaud tweets that “Moonves’ settlement package will be held back pending the results of an independent sexual misconduct investigation.”
BREAKING: Amid reports that CBS CEO Leslie Moonves will be stepping down in the next 24 hours, sources tells CBS News that Moonves’ settlement package will be held back pending the results of an independent sexual misconduct investigation.
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) September 9, 2018
CNN and other news outlets reported Sunday that Moonves has reached a settlement with CBS and will step down from the company by Monday morning. Sources familiar with the matter tell CBS News that Moonves’ settlement package will withheld pending the results of an ongoing independent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct. –CBS News
Moonves has acknowledged three of the encounters in a statement to The New Yorker, however he says they were consensual.
“The appalling accusations in this article are untrue,” the statement reads. “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.”
Moonves, 68, joined CBS in 1995 as the president of CBS Entertainment, and has been the chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation since 2006. He was an executive at Lorimar Television in the late 1980s.