The Latest: Moonves of CBS mum on misconduct allegations
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the investigation into allegations that Les Moonves, who heads CBS, was involved in incidents of sexual misconduct that stretch over three decades (all times local):
Embattled CBS CEO Les Moonves says he is confident about the company’s future but made no statement about a pending investigation into allegations of sexual assault.
Moonves spoke Thursday during a call with industry analysts after the company’s second-quarter earnings report.
Two outside law firms are investigating allegations published in a New Yorker article last Friday that Moonves made unwanted sexual advances and took career retaliation against women who rebuffed him.
At the beginning of the call, Adam Townsend, the investor relations head at CBS, said questions from analysts would be limited to the quarterly results “in light of pending litigation and other matters, and on the advice of counsel.”
No questions were asked about the investigation.
CBS says its second quarter net income rose, boosted by higher fees from its network affiliates and subscribers.
The report comes as the media company is investigating its CEO, Les Moonves, over sexual misconduct claims.
Discussing the quarterly results, Moonves says the company’s streaming services, including CBS All Access and Showtime, are on track to reach 8 million subscribers by next year. Its goal had been to hit that number in 2020.
During the April-to-June quarter net income jumped to $400 million, or $1.06 per share, from $58 million, or 14 cents per share last year. Adjusted for one-time items, net income was $1.12 per share. Analysts expected $1.10 share.
Revenue rose 6 percent to $3.47 billion, edging past analyst expectations of $3.46 billion.
CBS board members, who have ordered an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by its chief executive, knew several months ago of an investigation by police in Los Angeles into an alleged sexual assault by CEO Les Moonves, according to a published report.
There were no charges filed in the incident, but Moonves revealed the existence of the investigation to a board committee, which hired a law firm to investigate, according to two people familiar with the matter, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
Police in Los Angeles opened the investigation in November after an 81-year-old woman said she had been assaulted by Moonves three decades ago when they both worked at TV studio Lorimar Productions.
The newspaper report is likely in increase pressure on the company’s board, already facing criticism for allowing Moonves to remain in place during an investigation into unrelated incidents of alleged sexual misconduct.
The board ordered that investigation after a story in the New Yorker magazine last week said that six women have accused Moonves of forced kissing, unwanted sexual advances and career retaliation against women who rebuffed him over a period of at three decades.
The media company has hired two high-profile law firms to investigate.
CBS says it has hired two high-profile law firms, Covington & Burling, and Debevoise & Plimpton, to investigate sexual harassment claims against CEO Les Moonves.
Both teams will be led by women. The announcement arrives with Moonves expected to field questions during quarterly earnings call Thursday.
Covington & Burling’s investigation will be led by Nancy Kestenbaum and Debevoise & Plimpton’s investigation will be led by Mary Jo White.
Kestenbaum has led independent investigations of sexual misconduct for private schools Choate Rosemary Hall and The Brearley School.
White was the chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission until 2016 and a former United States Securities and a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1993 to 2002.
CBS will be reporting second-quarter earnings as turmoil swirls around the media company with the crucial fall TV season approaching.
CEO Les Moonves faces an internal investigation after a story in the New Yorker magazine said that six women have accused him of sexual misconduct. The allegations against include forced kissing, unwanted sexual advances and career retaliation against women who rebuffed him over a period of at three decades. The board at the New York media giant has decided to leave Moonves at his post during the investigation.
The inquiry comes at a particularly perilous time in the industry, with serious threats from media newcomers like Netflix and Amazon. The industry is being transformed by consolidation as traditional media merge in an attempt to fight off emerging threats. AT&T bought Time Warner for $85 billion in June and Disney is in the process of buying Fox’s entertainment businesses for $71 billion.