TwitterFacebookPinterestGoogle+

CBS denies former CEO Les Moonves $120 million severance

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS announced Monday that former CEO Les Moonves will not receive his $120 million severance package after the board of directors concluded he violated company policy and was uncooperative with an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

The decision, which came after a five-month outside investigation, capped the downfall of one of television’s most influential figures, the biggest entertainment powerbroker to see his career derailed amid the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct.

A lawyer for Moonves said the board’s conclusion “are without merit” but did not say whether the former CEO would challenge it in arbitration.

Moonves was ousted in September after allegations from women who said he subjected them to mistreatment including forced oral sex, groping and retaliation if they resisted.

“This is an important reminder that harassment happens everywhere, and that in this moment, even someone who has been perceived as untouchable will be held accountable,” said Fatima Goss Graves, a co-founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which provides legal assistance to victims of assault, harassment or abuse. “I hope other corporations are learning that lesson.”

New York-based CBS Corp. said at the time of Moonves’ departure that it had set aside $120 million in severance for him but warned that he would not get the money if the board concluded it had cause to terminate him.

“We have determined that there are grounds to terminate for cause, including his willful and material misfeasance, violation of company policies and breach of his employment contract, as well as his willful failure to cooperate fully with the company’s investigation,” the CBS said in a statement.

The board did not provide details. Earlier this month, The New York Times said a draft report from the outside investigation found that Moonves deleted numerous text messages and was “evasive and untruthful at times.”

Andrew Levander, an attorney for Moonves, said his client “vehemently denies any non-consensual sexual relations and cooperated extensively and fully with investigators.”

“Consistent with the pattern of leaks that have permeated this ‘process,’ the press was informed of these baseless conclusions before Mr. Moonves, further damaging his name, reputation, career and legacy,” Levander said.

Moonves had been widely admired for turning around the fortunes of CBS when he took over as entertainment chief in 1995 with hits as “Two and a Half Men” and “Survivor.” He was also one of the highest-paid executives in the nation, making about $70 million in each of the past two years.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents four women who have accused Moonves of misconduct, called on CBS to publicly release the details of the investigators’ findings and compensate those with provable misconduct claims.

“The public has a right to know who at CBS was aware of Mr. Moonves’ alleged misconduct and when they knew of it,” said Allred, whose clients all spoke to the investigators. “Instead of keeping this money and rewarding their corporation for Mr. Moonves’ alleged misconduct, they should share these many millions with those who can prove that they are victims.”

Three major figures at CBS have lost their jobs over misconduct allegations: Moonves, “60 Minutes” top executive Jeff Fager, and news anchor Charlie Rose.

Last week, CBS acknowledged that it reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year with actress Eliza Dushku, who said she was written off the show “Bull” in March 2017 after complaining about on-set sexual comments from its star, Michael Weatherly.

The board said the investigation, which was conducted by two outside law firms, “concluded that harassment and retaliation are not pervasive at CBS.”

Still, the board said investigators “learned of past incidents of improper and unprofessional conduct” and that CBS has not placed a “high institutional priority on preventing harassment and retaliation.”

The 11-member board, which includes six new members who came aboard during a shake-up following Moonves’ ouster, said it has “already begun to take robust steps to improve the working environment for all employees.”

In a move criticized by women’s rights activists, CBS had previously said Moonves would stay on as an adviser for up to two years, providing him with office and security services. The board did not say whether that decision remained in effect.

CBS declined to comment beyond its statement.

Last week, the CBS revealed a list of 18 women’s rights organizations that would receive $20 million donations with funds the company had previously said would be deducted from Moonves’ severance.

The groups, which included Time’s Up, praised the donations but called on CBS to publicly disclose the results of the Moonves investigation. It was unclear if CBS would do so.

Some activists involved in the #MeToo movement have praised CBS for hiring outside legal firms to conduct the investigation, a decision that contrasted with NBC’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations against Matt Lauer, who was fired last year as host of the “Today” show host. NBC’s investigation, which was overseen by the company’s general counsel, concluded that there was no culture of harassment at the news division.

A search for a new CEO is ongoing to replace interim CEO Joe Ianniello. Strauss Zelnick, filling Moonves’ role as board chairman on an interim basis, said at a shareholders’ meeting last week that a recruiting firm has been hired to conduct the search and that a decision will be made in due course.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

VIDEO NEWS

National Politics

Putin: NKorea’s Kim ready to denuclearize _ with conditions

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un…

Ex-Vice President Biden launches 2020 presidential campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden formally joined the crowded Democratic presidential contest…

Putin, Kim to meet in Russia’s Far East on Thursday

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong…

As Sri Lanka mourns, Islamic State claims Easter bombings

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — As the death toll from the Easter bombings in Sri…

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Death Warrant For Tampa Serial Killer Robert "Bobby" Joe Long

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Florida's 46th Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a death warrant…

Florida Supreme Court Affirms Governor’s Authority to Suspend Scott Israel

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, the Florida Supreme Court issued an opinion affirming Governor Ron DeSantis’…

Governor Ron DeSantis to Speak at Press Conference in Key Biscayne with the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee Monday

MIAMI, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Governor Ron DeSantis will hold a press conference with the Miami…

[OPINION]: Central Florida’s Regressive Prosecutor

In 2016, Central Florida elected Aramis Ayala as Florida’s first African-American State Attorney. Given her…

FNN SPORTS

  • Tiger Woods celebrates his 5th Masters win after sinking the final bogie Sunday. Photo: Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE/Rex/Shutterstock
    AUGUSTA (CBS Sports) - 2019 Masters: Tiger Woods Storms Leaderboard, Wins Fifth Green Jacket in Furious Finish (Photo: Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE/Rex/Shutterstock)

MORE SPORTS NEWS

Attorneys for Patriots owner set to challenge sex video

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s high-profile attorneys normally…

Orlando City Earns Late 1-0 Victory Over Vancouver

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - Source: Orlando City SC // Orlando City SC (3-3-2, 11…

Governor Ron DeSantis, Former NBA Star Tracy McGrady Sit Courtside for Game 3 of Orlando Magic Playoffs

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - Florida's 46th Governor Ron DeSantis (R),  First Lady Casey DeSantis…

Jaguars Unveil New Logo To Celebrate Team's Historic 25th Season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Today the Jacksonville Jaguars kicked off a yearlong celebration of the…

MATCH RECAP: Pride Shutout by North Carolina Courage

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando Pride (0-2-0, 0 points) fell to the defending National Women’s Soccer League…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers announce 2019 regular season schedule

TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2019 regular season schedule, released today by the…

BUSINESS NEWS

MORE BUSINESS NEWS

Shark Tank Star Daymond John, DWTS's Lindsay Arnold, Joey Fatone to Host Runway to Hope 2019 Gala

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Runway to Hope co-founder Attorney Mark NeJame announced on Facebook Wednesday…

Bank of America Raising Hourly Minimum Wage to $20

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America plans to raise its starting pay to $20…

Pinterest sets sites on $1.5B in first public share offering

NEW YORK (AP) — Pinterest, among a gaggle of tech companies planning to go public…

Gone in 6 minutes: an Ethiopian Airlines jet’s final journey

From nearly the moment they roared down the runway and took off in their new…

Linda McMahon to exit role at Small Business Administration

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The head of the Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon, is…

Facebook charged with housing discrimination by HUD

NEW YORK (AP) — The federal government charged Facebook with high-tech housing discrimination Thursday for allegedly…

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

  • LAS VEGAS (Billboard) - Cardi B Leads 2019 Billboard Music Awards Nominations With 21

MORE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Brothers sue Jussie Smollett’s lawyers, claiming defamation

CHICAGO (AP) — Two brothers who say they helped Jussie Smollett stage a racist and…

Funk Fest Orlando Brings Erykah Badu, Ginuwine, Bobby Brown and More This Weekend

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Funk Fest, the ultimate Old School R&B/Hip Hop outdoor music…

Florida Film Festival announced the 2019 Grand Jury and Audience Award Winners

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - After 10 days and over 180 films, the 2019 Florida Film…

Shark Tank Star Daymond John, DWTS's Lindsay Arnold, Joey Fatone to Host Runway to Hope 2019 Gala

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Runway to Hope co-founder Attorney Mark NeJame announced on Facebook Wednesday…

Aretha Franklin makes history with posthumous Pulitzer win

NEW YORK (AP) — Aretha Franklin is still getting R-E-S-P-E-C-T after death: The Queen of…

Trivago Hotel Website Actor Arrested in Texas on DWI Charge

HOUSTON (AP) - The actor who has become something of a sex symbol as the…

LIFESTYLE, TRAVEL & TOURISM

  • In this artist rendering, a new play pavilion in development at Epcot will include first-of-their-kind experiences devoted to playful fun, inviting guests into an innovative city bursting with interactive experiences and hands-on activities. Friends and family will interact with favorite Disney characters in an energetic metropolis unlike anything ever seen before at Epcot. The as-yet-unnamed space will debut to guests in time for the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary. (Disney)
    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Innovative environment joins lineup of new and recently announced enhancements to the Walt Disney World Resort theme park. (Image: Disney)

MORE LIFESTYLE NEWS

Shark Tank Star Daymond John, DWTS's Lindsay Arnold, Joey Fatone to Host Runway to Hope 2019 Gala

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Runway to Hope co-founder Attorney Mark NeJame announced on Facebook Wednesday…

Trivago Hotel Website Actor Arrested in Texas on DWI Charge

HOUSTON (AP) - The actor who has become something of a sex symbol as the…

"Unplanned" Movie Comes to Orlando, Inspired by Conservative Activist Korrie Lupino Stevenson

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - On Wednesday, March 27th, Unplanned the movie will be viewed…

Garden Rocks Concert Series Expands to Every Day of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, March 6-June 3

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Garden Rocks Concert Series is back – every single day…

SPECIAL REPORT: Non-Compliance with State Law Plagues Orange County Soil & Water Board

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Florida currently has 58 Soil & Water Conservation Districts which were…

Chairman Daisy Morales Announces New Website for Orange Soil and Water Conservation District

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – After four years of ongoing board meetings and delays to…