Les Moonves Resigns From CBS After Sexual Misconduct Allegations

The head of US media giant CBS, Les Moonves, has resigned with immediate effect after allegations of sexual misconduct.

Les Moonves Resigns From CBS

CBS had been investigating Mr Moonves since allegations appeared in the New Yorker in July – and fresh accusations from six more women appeared on Sunday.

Ms Redstone and Mr Moonves had been engaged in a court battle as he tried to thwart her plan to merge CBS and Viacom.

But the announcement of Mr Moonves’ departure came at the same time as CBS said it was ending legal action against National Amusements. For its part, National Amusements said it would not seek a merger between the two companies for the next two years.

What has CBS said?

In a statement it announced that Mr Moonves would step down as chairman, president and CEO with immediate effect.

Joseph Ianniello will serve as president and acting CEO.

The Financial Times said Mr Moonves was resigning because this would entitle him to a hefty severance package, including stock options.

US media said the resignation package for Mr Moonves could amount to $100m.

However, CBS said he would not receive any severance benefits until the result of an independent investigation into his conduct.

The donation to organisations fighting for “equality for women in the workplace” would be deducted from the severance benefits, it said.

What did Mr Moonves say about them?

The New Yorker quoted a statement in which he says: “The appalling accusations in this article are untrue. 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.”

What were the earlier allegations?

Another six women had accused Mr Moonves. All of them said they believed their careers had suffered because they rejected his advances.

At the time Mr Moonves said he “may have made some women uncomfortable” in the past, adding: “Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected… that ‘no’ means ‘no’.”

Les Moonves started out as a TV actor before developing Friends and ER with Warner Bros and then reviving an ailing CBS with hits including CSI, Everybody Loves Raymond and, most recently, The Big Bang Theory.

For a decade under his leadership, CBS has been the most-watched network in the US, narrowly retaining its crown ahead of NBC in the 2017-18 season.

Mr Moonves earned $69.3m (£53m) in 2017 making him one of the highest paid chief executives in the world.

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