CBS probes misconduct claims against CEO Moonves amid legal battle


Leslie"Les Moonves president and chief executive officer of CBS Corp. attends the annual Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference

The New Yorker article also said a culture of misconduct extended from Moonves to other parts of the corporation, including CBS News.

CBS and Viacom were once part of the same company, known as Viacom, but were split in 2005 into separate entities, both controlled by Sumner Redstone. In a statement to The New Yorker, Moonves denied any allegations of sexual assault but acknowledged, "I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances".

"Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely", Moonves said.

But he said he respected the principle "that "no" means 'no, '" and had never misused his position to harm anyone's career.

The company retained the law firm Proskauer Rose LLP to look into its news division following allegations against anchor Charlie Rose, but has not said who will handle the new investigation.

Among the women quoted in the article were the actress Illeana Douglas, writer Janet Jones and producer Christine Peters.

"Speaking for myself, real change will occur when I can walk through the front doors of CBS and resume the creative and working relationship that was so tragically cut short in 1997".

She also took issue with CBS for citing her dispute with the company in a statement about The New Yorker allegations.

Last year, CBS was the most watched network in the United States, although it dropped into third place, behind NBC and Fox for adults aged 18-49.

In Farrow's article, he delves into the stories of several women who accused Moonves of sexual misconduct, and how the CEO's behavior created a culture of harassment and misogyny throughout the network.

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It remained unclear what impact the reports would have on a legal battle for control of the U.S. television giant - between the Redstone family, which controls CBS, and the board, chaired by Moonves.

Just one day after Julie Chen, the host of The Talk, came out to defend her husband Leslie Moonves after the misconduct allegations surfaced on Friday, her fellow co-host Sharon Osborne tweeted her support.

As the New York Post's Page Six reported, Osbourne was apparently referring to a pending court case between the CBS board and its controlling shareholder, who wants to to merge the network with Viacom. At CBS, he commissioned hit shows such as "CSI" and "The Big Bang Theory". "While that litigation process continues, the CBS management team has the full support of the independent board members" CBS added".

While a distraction for the board, the sexual misconduct allegations are unlikely to be a factor in the DE court case, said Larry Hamermesh, a Widener University law professor who is an expert in Delaware's corporate statutes.

Couric wasn't the only former female employee who criticized the network's office environment and their treatment by top executives.

Farrow took to Twitter, hours after the CBS share price first tumbled, to say that he does not comment on reporting he has not published.

And when producer Christine Peters met Moonves in the early 2000s to discuss work at CBS Films, he slid his hand up her thigh and touched her underwear. Viacom closed up 4.6 percent.

That made him one of the highest-paid CEOs in the country past year, according to an Equilar review of S&P 500 companies.

Before joining CBS, he was president of Warner Bros.

Moonves, 68, is now married to "Big Brother" and "The Talk" host Julie Chen, whom he Wednesday in 2004. He also won the Milestone Award from the Producers Guild of America that year.

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