CBS said it is investigating its chairman and CEO, Leslie Moonves, over allegations of sexual misconduct, saying in a statement that the company takes the reports “seriously” in the latest high-profile target of the #MeToo movement.
In a story published in The New Yorker on Friday evening, six women accused Moonves of harassment and intimidation, with others coming forward to detail abusive work environments under the longtime CEO.
In a statement, Moonves admitted to the misconduct, which included unwanted kissing or touching and threats to harm the careers of female employees, according to Axios:
“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.”
CBS said it will be investigating the claims against Moonves and will “take appropriate action” in response to the allegations, according to Politico:
“All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously. The Independent Directors of CBS have committed to investigating claims that violate the Company’s clear policies in that regard. Upon the conclusion of that investigation, which involves recently reported allegations that go back several decades, the Board will promptly review the findings and take appropriate action.”
Politico noted that the report of Moonves’ misconduct was rumored for months, causing the company’s stock to tumble on Friday even before the article was published.
Written by Ronan Farrow, who prompted the start of the #MeToo movement with his reporting on sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein last year, the report is the latest development in the effort to expose inappropriate behavior among top executives in business, entertainment, and politics.
Moonves has been at the top levels of CBS since 1995 and is currently involved in a legal battle over whether to merge CBS with sister company Viacom.