The accusations against Les Moonves span from the ’80s-early 2000s
According to Ronan Farrow’s latest eposé for the New Yorker, the CEO and chairman of CBS, Les Moonves, has been accused of sexual misconduct by six women — all former colleagues and employees.
The article dives into decades of reported misconduct, including unwanted kissing and touching as well as direct threats against the victims to prevent them from speaking out. Four of the accusers include actress Illeana Douglas, producer Christine Peters, writer Janet Jones, and “a prominent actress who played a police officer on a long-running CBS program.”
Douglas, a fantastic character actress known for roles in Cape Fear, Goodfellas, and Six Feet Under, describes a situation where Moonves grabbed her and violently kissed her during a business meeting in 1997. “What it feels like to have someone hold you down—you can’t breathe, you can’t move,” she says. “The physicality of it was horrendous.” Shortly after the incident, Moonves fired Douglas from the CBS sitcom she had been cast in, and told her she’d never work for the network again. And she didn’t.
Writer Jones describes an incident where Moonves “threw himself on top of [her]” and forcibly kissed her in 1985. She told a producer about it and also confronted Moonves himself. She says afterward, he called and threatened her, telling her he’d “ruin” her career: “You will never get a writing job. No one will hire you. Do you understand what I’m saying to you?’” Two other women tell Farrow Moonves also made unwanted advances toward them in professional environments and made similar threats against their careers.
Thirty former and current CBS employees describe a toxic work environment at CBS in general, many of them saying they’ve been harassed and discriminated against by the network. Brad Kern, a producer of NCIS: New Orleans, has been accused of sexual harassment; an executive director at CBS Evening News is being sued for encouraging a staffer to have sex with a coworker, and Charlie Rose faced several disturbing allegations earlier this year and was removed from his position at CBS This Morning.
Following the New Yorker piece, Moonves issued a statement: “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.”
Julie Chen, Moonves’ wife and host of Big Brother and co-host of The Talk — both on CBS — also shared a statement on Twitter:
— Julie Chen (@JulieChen) July 27, 2018
In a separate statement, CBS says “all allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously.” After an investigation of the allegations, “the Board will promptly review the findings and take appropriate action.”