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Sexual harassment and assault

CBS reportedly offers US$100 million exit deal to CEO Les Moonves, accused of sex harassment

The massive reported offer comes after Moonves admitted making ‘mistakes’ with women, having been accused of harassing behaviour between the 1980s and late 2000s

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 September, 2018, 11:57am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 September, 2018, 11:57am

Media company CBS’s board has reportedly offered chief executive officer Les Moonves a US$100 million exit package.

The news comes after Moonves, one of the world’s most powerful media executives, acknowledged “mistakes” in the way he had treated women earlier in his career.

According to CNBC, negotiations about his exit have been going on for some time.

Citing company sources, CNBC claims Moonves’s contract could entitle him to as much as US$180 million in severance but the board is pushing for a US$100 million package made up of CBS stock.

In July, The New Yorker published an article in which six women who had worked with Moonves between the 1980s and late 2000s alleged they had been sexually harassed by the media executive.

Moonves, 68, was formerly co-president and co-chief operating officer of Viacom and was previously at Fox and Warner Brothers, where he launched hit shows including Friends and ER.

In a statement published after the New Yorker story, Moonves acknowledged “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.”

Last week, a New York law firm filed a class-action complaint against CBS alleging shareholders had suffered in the wake of the allegations. CBS’s shares dropped 6 per cent after the news broke – its worst one-day loss in nearly seven years.

This week CBS’s board announced it has appointed two legal firms to look into the allegations brought against Moonves. Moonves is “entirely recused” from the investigation, the statement from the board said.

The law firms will also look into other allegations that the culture at CBS and CBS News tolerated abusive behaviour.

CBS declined to comment.