Les Moonves has responded to charges of sexual harassment and misconduct outlined by Ronan Farrow in an explosive New Yorker article relased on Friday.
In the damning expose, Farrow cites six women, all of whom allege that the CBS CEO made unwanted advances toward them in the form of kissing or touching.
If they refused said advances, the women were punished.
Each also said she was afraid to speak out back when the incidents happened, out of fear over how Moonves could ruin their careers.
This same piece delves deeply into CBS itself, with Farrow writing that it maintains a testosterone-fueled culture where “everything feels old, the people, the furniture, the culture, the mores.”
(Moonves has served as the chairman of CBS for about two and a half years; the network has been the most-watched network on television in 15 of the last 16 seasons.)
One of the accusers is actress Illeana Douglas, perhaps best known for her role on Six Feet Under.
She claims to have been fired from a 1997 pilot after refusing Moonves’ advances, which included “violent kissing” and holding her down on his office couch.
“The physicality of it was horrendous,” she alleges of Moonves, who was the CBS Entertainment President at the time.
Douglas says she was promptly let from the unanmed sitcom and denied payment, although she was later offered compensation and the opportunity to appear in a CBS miniseries after she retained an attorney.
In response to the scathing allegations against him, Moonves has said the following:
Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our Company.
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.
But I always understood and respected – and abided by the principle – that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career.
This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.
Even before various details from the article were made public on Friday, CBS vows to investigate Moonves and this entire situation.
It said in a lengthy statement of its own:
CBS is very mindful of all workplace issues and takes each report of misconduct very seriously.
We do not believe, however, that the picture of our Company created in The New Yorker represents a larger organization that does its best to treat its tens of thousands of employees with dignity and respect.
We are seeing vigorous discourse in our country about equality, inclusion and safety in the workplace, and CBS is committed to being part of the solution to those important issues.
Moonves is one of the most powerful men in Hollywood.
He earned close to $70 million last year and is married to CBS on-air personality Julie Chen.
The Big Brother host said the following in the wake of these accusations against her husband:
I have known my husband, Leslie Moonves, since the late ’90s, and I have been married to him for almost 14 years.
Leslie is a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader.
He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being. I fully support my husband and stand behind him and his statement.
That's all well and good and parts of it may be true.
But it's very safe to assume at least one thing in all of this:
There's no way Les Moonves remains CEO of CBS for very much longer.