the industry

Six More Women Accuse Les Moonves of Sexual Assault and Harassment

Les Moonves. Photo: Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images

In the midst of CBS reportedly preparing a significant settlement package for Les Moonves’s departure from the company, six more women have accused the company chairman of various instances of sexual harassment and assault over the past three decades. In a new report by The New Yorker, the women — now joining the six other women who accused Moonves of harassment earlier this summer — talked with Ronan Farrow about their traumatizing experiences with the man. Taking place between the 1980s and early 2000s, the women described their encounters with Moonves, which included the following: sexual coercion, forcible kissing and touching, lewd comments, and physical violence. While the methods of Moonves’s harassment and assault varied, all women claim they received professional retribution if they rebuffed his advances. “He absolutely ruined my career,” one woman, Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, explained after denying Moonves oral sex in his car in the ‘80s. Days later, he pulled and threw her “hard” against a wall, because of a memo mix-up. “He was the head of CBS. No one was going to take me.”

Another woman, Jessica Pallingston, was temporarily assigned to be Moonves’ assistant in the mid-’90s. He repeatedly demanded Pallington perform oral sex on him, which caused her to have panic attacks. “It was very violent, very aggressive. There was real hostility in it,” she recalled. After rejecting his sexual advances on further occasions, Moonves eventually grew “hostile, nasty” and would address her as “you cunt.” A third woman, Deborah Morris, dodged numerous unwanted advances from Moonves in the late-’80s, which culminated in Morris having to defend herself in Moonves’ car, when he grabbed her to force a kiss. “My left arm swung and hit him across the chest. It was just instinct,” she recalled. She was soon shunned at work as a result: “I was hung out to dry. And that was pretty much the end of my career. I wasn’t going to get a reference.”

When reached for comment by The New Yorker, Moonves acknowledged three of the women’s stories, but insisted they were all consensual encounters. “In my 40 years of work, I have never before heard of such disturbing accusations,” he said. “I can only surmise they are surfacing now for the first time, decades later, as part of a concerted effort by others to destroy my name, my reputation, and my career. Anyone who knows me knows that the person described in this article is not me.” The CBS Corporation, meanwhile, said it takes these new allegations “very seriously.”

Les Moonves Accused of Sexual Assault by Six More Women