Les Moonves, the Chief Executive Officer of CBS, resigned from his position on Sunday, September 9th, after a whopping six additional women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct.
The veteran television executive, who is married to The Talk and Big Brother host Julie Chen, was already under investigation by the network powerhouse for the first six allegations that came against him. His wife has continued to stand at Moonves’ side while the claims are made.
Moonves resigned just hours after the new accusations came in, and CBS announced that the resignation is effective immediately.
While CBS didn’t directly address any of the accusations made against the long-time CEO, they did state that Moonves is donating $20 million to organizations that support the #MeToo movement, as well as equality for women in Hollywood and the workplace. The New Yorker reported that some of the latest accusations against Les Moonves included him forcing women to perform oral sex, and retaliating unfairly when his advances were denied or turned down. Les has acknowledged having relations with three women who have come forward, but has stated that the acts were nothing but consensual, and said he would never have used his position to hurt, take advantage of, or ruin a woman’s career.
The $20 million donation is to be made immediately, and deducted from any type of severance pay that Les Moonves would have received, according to a CBS statement. Moonves continues to deny the allegations that have been made against him in reports issued by CBS.
Moonves has stated that he is deeply saddened to be leaving CBS and also claimed it was an incredible privilege to have worked there for as long as he did. In his statement, he thanked the dedicated and talented people who he worked with at CBS.
CBS’ Chief Operating Officer, Joseph Ianniello, is taking over as CEO in the interim. Outside of that, the role of chairman is to remain empty until the CBS board of directors can agree on a suitable and permanent replacement.
Moonves was already under investigation for accusations of sexual misconduct made by six other women, which now brings the total up to twelve. While CBS was working through the investigation, it was known that Moonves would leave once a severance package had been agreed upon. However, CBS also announced on Sunday that no severance package agreement had been reached. Instead, they announced that he won’t be receiving any severance benefits at the moment and that any future payments are to depend on the results of the investigation and executive board evaluation.
Les Moonves joined the CBS team as the head of entertainment in 1995 and worked his way up to CEO by 2006. He led the CBS network, Showtime, and other smaller CBS entities. Due to the popularity of the CBS network with hit shows such as NCIS and The Big Bang Theory, Les Moonves quickly became one of the most powerful and highest paid CEOs in the business.
At this time, the future of Julie Chen’s career at CBS is unknown.