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CBS board meets Les Moonves' role for allegations of misconduct



The board of CBS Corporation spent most of the weekend discussing what immediate action it should take to involve Les Moonves, the company's CEO, according to a published report that contained allegations of sexual misconduct by six women [19659002] The 14 members of the board wondered if Mr. Moonves should continue the company in an in-house investigation, according to two people who were familiar with the conversations that had requested that they not be named because the matter was confidential , The board has also discussed how to proceed with the investigation.

The board hopes to work out some details, including the scope of the investigation, during a regular meeting on Monday, people said. CBS declined to comment on Sunday's discussions.

The investigation was triggered by a report in the New Yorker on Friday containing detailed descriptions of allegations by six women who said that Mr. Moonves had asked them for sexual favors and had annoyed them. Four women spoke on the record, including Emmy award-winning actress Illeana Douglas, who in 1997 described a meeting with Mr. Moonves, saying she "kissed her hard" while holding her.

Mr. Moonves, 68, has held senior network positions for more than three decades and has been the company's chief executive since 2006. He led a successful turnaround at CBS and turned him from a last-place network into the most watched for nearly a decade, with hits such as "The Big Bang Theory", "Survivor" and "Young Sheldon".

But his role was already due to a separate litigation with Shari Redstone, head of CBS's parent company, National Amusements. Mr. Moonves and the CBS board have sued Mrs. Redstone to prevent the parent company from attempting to merge the network with Viacom, which also belongs to the corporate family. The lawsuit is expected to be heard in October. If Mr. Moonves loses, he can leave the company.

In May, CBS and Mr. Moonves lost one of the first rounds of the dispute when a judge ruled against CBS's efforts to reduce Redstone's influence on the network. It controls nearly 80 percent of the company's voting rights through its family business. Three members of the CBS Board are appointed directly by National Amusements, including Ms. Redstone's office.

In a statement announcing the investigation on Friday, the independent directors of the CBS board are those who are not directly affiliated with the company or its parent company – pointed out that the article by New Yorker in the litigation was published

. Redstone denies, however, that it has anything to do with the article.

"The malicious suggestion that Mrs. Redstone is somehow behind allegations of inappropriate personal behavior by Mr. Moonves or today's reports is false and self-serving," a statement from her representative said. "Mrs. Redstone hopes the investigation of these allegations will be thorough, open and transparent."

Redstone, deputy chairman of the CBS board, planned to attend the board meeting on Monday, which will be held over a telephone conference, one of the people said.

The independent members of the CBS board said in their Friday statement that after the Chamber closes its investigation, they "will promptly review the findings and take appropriate action".


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