CBS Corporation president Leslie Moonves has been accused of sexual misconduct, details of which will be included in a forthcoming New Yorker magazine investigation.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Ronan Farrow-penned expose — which will be published on Friday — will include allegations of unwanted kissing and touching by Moonves. The incidents reportedly took place more than 20 years ago, during Moonves’ first marriage to Nancy Wiesenfeld.
Though The New Yorker would not comment on a yet-to-be-published story, the Independent Directors of CBS’ Board issued the following statement:
All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously. 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 involved recently reported allegations that go back several decades, the Board will promptly review the findings and take appropriate action.
The statement went on to address Moonves’ ongoing legal feud with Shari Redstone, the controlling shareholder of both CBS and Viacom, regarding a potential merger of the two companies that Moonves is trying to prevent:
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.
Moonves, who also serves as CBS Corporation’s CEO and Chairman of the Board, becomes one of the biggest entertainment figures to be accused of sexual misconduct during the ongoing wave of stories and scandals that begat the current #MeToo movement. CBS has previously dealt with sexual misconduct allegations against journalist Charlie Rose, which led to his firing from the network.
Moonves is currently married to Big Brother host/The Talk panelist Julie Chen.
After filling a series of executive positions at CBS starting in 1995, Moonves served as co-president and co-CEO of CBS Corporation predecessor Viacom, Inc., from 2004 until the company split at the end of 2005. He was named chairman of CBS in February 2016 (replacing 92-year-old media mogul Sumner M. Redstone).
As chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation, Moonves oversees all operations, including the CBS Television Network, Showtime, The CW, CBS Television Studios and CBS Interactive. As part of his legacy, CBS has been the most-watched network for 10 straight seasons and 15 out of the past 16 years.