CBS CEO and chairman Les Moonves has stepped down from his post following a new report from Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker, which brought new allegations of sexual misconduct. CBS’s board made the announcement on Sunday evening, following a report from CNN that broke word of his departure.
CBS says that its board of directors and its parent company National Amusements announced that they reached a settlement this evening that would see Moonves step down immediately. CBS will also donate $20 million to organizations that support the #MeToo movement, the amount of which will be “deducted from any severance benefits that may be due Moonves following the Board’s ongoing independent investigation.” Moonves will not receive any payout at this time, although whether or not he does receive money will depend on the outcome of the investigation.
At the end of July, Farrow published a lengthy investigation in The New Yorker detailing allegation that Moonves fostered a workplace where sexual harassment was tolerated, and forcibly kissed and propositioned 6 women and threatened to retaliate when they resisted. At the time, Moonves said that had made “some women uncomfortable,” but denied allegations of deliberately harming careers. Following the publication of the report, CBS opened an investigation into the allegations, but allowed Moonves to stay onboard while it took place. Prosecutors in LA haven’t charged Moonves, saying that the statute of limitations on the allegations have since expired.
Reports of negotiations over an exit package for Moonves circulated in the last week. CNN cites a pair of executives who say that a settlement for Moonves’ exit is in its final stages, and that the executive will resign on Monday morning, prior to the end of the investigation. Deadline reports that the $100 million payout that was rumored earlier this week is now off the table, and that the board is looking to fire Moonves “for cause, which changes everything.”
This weekend, Farrow — who earned a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the sexual assault and harassment from Harvey Weinstein — published a new report that outlines additional accusations against Moonves. Six additional women have come forward, alleging “sexual harassment or assault in incidents that took place between the nineteen-eighties and the early aughts.” He details incidents in which Mooves is alleged to have exposed himself to women, forced them to perform oral sex on him, and “used physical violence and intimidation against them.” Another woman raised a new complaint against 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager. In a statement to The New Yorker, Moonves says that some of the encounters happened, but that they were consensual, while CBS reaffirmed its commitment to its investigation.
Updated September 9, 2:45PM ET: Updated to include details from Deadline.
Updated September 9, 7:55PM ET: CBS announced Moonves’ departure from CBS, effective immediately. This post and headline have been updated with details about his departure.