CBS’s Moonves shouldn’t get payout: Darcy cartoon

September 11, 2018

CBS’s Moonves shouldn’t get payout: Darcy cartoon

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Les Moonves may receive a payout of up to $120 million after resigning, as CBS Chairman and Chief Executive, following dozens of women accusing him of sexual assault, harassment, physical threats and job retaliation.  Moonves shouldn’t get even a penny payout.

CBS reached a termination agreement with Moonves upon learning that The New Yorker would be publishing another story by Ronan Farrow reporting on additional allegations against Moonves from six more women.

Farrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking the Harvey Weinstein story, had first reported in July on credible allegations from six women against Moonves. 

Following the first Farrow story in the New Yorker, CBS launched an investigation into Moonves.  But the CBS board came under increasing criticism for dragging it’s heals in taking action against Moonves.  

Under the filed CBS-Moonves termination agreement, Moonves will remain an advisor at CBS for a year.   A payout of up to $120 million will be put in a holding trust pending the results of an internal investigation of the allegations.  

Moonves and CBS will “donate $20 million to one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement and quality for women in the workplace.  The donation, which will be made immediately, has been deducted from any severance benefits that may be due Moonves following the Board’s ongoing independent investigation.”

Half of the CBS board, that had come under fire for its slow action, has also been replaced.  Three of the new members of the once all male board, are women.

Moonves denied the allegations in a statement released Sunday, after the publication of the New Yorker story and news of his ouster.

“For the past 24 years it has been an incredible privilege to lead CB’s renaissance and transformation into a leading global media company.   Untrue allegation from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am...I am deeply saddened to be leaving the company.”

Previously, Moonves had claimed some of the relationships were consensual.  The dozens of women who talked to Farrow in two New Yorker stories, described Moonves forcing them to engage in sex acts, exposing himself to them, harassing them, using physical attacks to threaten them and retaliating against them when they rebuffed his propositions.

The alleged incidents go back as far as the 1980′s and included Moonves’s tenure at Lorimar-Telepictures.  The victims range from veteran female producers and executives, to interns, assistants and aspiring writers.   Some of the women continued working in the industry, but for others, Moonves’ actions ended their careers or desire to work in the field.

In addition to the Moonves allegations, several women have also accused ’60 Minutes’ Executive Producer Jeff Fager of harassment.  

Fager’s former intern, Sarah Johansen, told Farrow, “I really felt like this was one of the most sexist places I’ve ever worked.”

Charlie Rose was fired from “CBS This Morning” and PBS in 2017 after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.

In 2016, Fox News Chief Roger Ailes was forced out after Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson sued Fox and Ailes for sexual harassment.

Carlson received a $20 million settlement from Fox.   But Ailes received a $40 million settlement. 

Ailes receiving a payout double that of his victim set a bad precedent.  Now CBS may pay Moonves even more, which is an insult to all women, especially the women still working a CBS.

Rachel Bloom, star of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” tweeted about the Farrow story.

“As an employee of CBS, I would just like to say that Les Moonves should be fired without getting a ...dollar.  The actions described in this article are those of sexual assault and shame on anyone else in the corporation who knew about the crimes.”

Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of women’s rights group UltraViolet, wrote:

“If they reward Moonves’ decades of sexual harassment with a massive golden parachute, it will be shameful and compounds the damage of his decades of unchecked abuse. 

As the first Fortune 500 company executive to be held accountable, CBS is setting the new standard that should become the norm across corporate America: ’if you abuse women, you lose your job anf your golden parachute.”

As I noted above, Ailes was actually the first Fortune 500 company executive to be held accountable, and Fox set the precedent with it’s payment to him.

Claiming CBS had a “culture of toxic complicity” activist group Times Up, said in a statement that it would “accept nothing less than...a commitment to real change across all levels of CBS management and no reward for Les Moonves.”

Just with his salary, Moonves was making $69 million a year at CBS.

Crime shouldn’t pay, on the streets or in the executive offices of major networks. CBS’s Moonves payout show needs to be canceled.

Update hourly