Lawyers hired by CBS to investigate allegations against ousted CEO Les Moonves have reportedly found evidence that he “engaged in multiple acts of serious nonconsensual sexual misconduct in and outside of the workplace, both before and after he came to CBS in 1995,” according to a report in the New York Times. The Times got an early look at a draft of the almost 60-page report that will be presented to CBS’s board next week, in which investigators interviewed 11 of Moonves’s 17 accusers and said they found their allegations to be credible. The report also includes previously undisclosed allegations and asserts that Moonves “deliberately lied about and minimized” his sexual misconduct.
The report alleges that Moonves received “oral sex from at least four CBS employees under circumstances that sound transactional and improper to the extent that there was no hint of any relationship, romance, or reciprocity (especially given what we know about his history of more or less forced oral sex with women with whom he has no ongoing relationship).” In one instance, he allegedly had a network employee “on call” to give him oral sex in his office. The report states that “a number of employees were aware of this and believed that the woman was protected from discipline or termination as a result of it.” However, the woman in question refused to speak with investigators, and Moonves’s attorneys described the relationship as consensual.
Another revelation involves the now-deceased CBS board member Arnold Kopelson, who had defended Moonves when allegations first arose. When Dr. Anne Peters, his friend, told him Moonves had tried to kiss her and masturbated in front of her during a consultation in 1999, it did not dissuade him from joining CBS’s board as she’d hoped it would. “She recalls Kopelson responding that the incident had happened a long time ago and was trivial, and said, in effect, ‘We all did that,’” the report said.
Investigators also concluded that Moonves attempted to conceal his efforts to use CBS resources to silence the actress Bobbie Phillips, who had accused him of assaulting her in the ’90s. They determined that Moonves had deleted hundreds of text messages he’d exchanged with her manager, Marv Dauer, and turned over his son’s iPad in place of his own.
The report concludes that the findings of the investigators justified the termination of Moonves from his role as CEO with cause. Such a finding would likely allow CBS to deny the executive his $120 million severance package.