Les Moonves Reportedly Getting Ready To Step Down From CBS Amid Scathing New Harassment Allegations

The CBS President and CEO is accused of sexual assault by six more women as he plans his exit from the network.

Les Moonves' departure from CBS is imminent.
Joe Scarnici / Getty Images

The CBS President and CEO is accused of sexual assault by six more women as he plans his exit from the network.

CBS CEO Les Moonves is being hit with more sexual assault allegations nearly two months after the New Yorker published a bombshell piece detailing multiple allegations against the longtime network head, and just before his departure from CBS is set to be announced.

In a follow-up New Yorker report published on Sunday, writer Ronan Farrow revealed that six more women have stepped forward to accuse Moonves of sexual assault. The new accusations come as the CEO is expected to exit the network with a lucrative severance package.

Six additional incidents that allegedly took place between the 1980s and 2000s were detailed in Farrow’s new report. One of the women behind the claims is Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, who worked with Moonves at Lorimar in the late 1980s. The veteran TV executive alleges that Moonves physically restrained her and forced her to perform oral sex on him, claiming he later became hostile and threw her up against a wall.

Golden-Gottlieb filed a criminal complaint with the Los Angeles Police Department in 2017 and Farrow confirmed that the claims were credible. Some CBS board members have reportedly been aware of an LAPD investigation into the claim of violent, forced oral sex since January.

Moonves’ former assistant, Jessica Pallingston, also alleged that her former boss pressured her to perform oral sex on him on her first day at work in 1994 and went on to verbally abuse her after she rejected his later advances. Other women, including a makeup artist who worked with Moonves in the early 2000s, detailed incident of unwanted kissing and touching by the high-powered TV executive.

Les Moonves released a statement to the New Yorker, acknowledging three of the six new incidents, but claiming that each encounter was consensual.

“The appalling accusations in this article are untrue. What is true is that I had consensual relations with three of the women some 25 years ago before I came to CBS. And I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women. In my 40 years of work, I have never before heard of such disturbing accusations. 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 terms of Moonves’ potential departure from CBS are still being worked out by lawyers, but there have been rumors that he could be given an exit package of nearly $100 million. If it comes to fruition, the multi-million dollar settlement would be another gut punch to the women who have come forward with allegations against Les Moonves.

The CBS board of directors is rumored to be announcing Moonves’ exit deal by Monday morning, according to two executives with direct knowledge of the matter, CNN Money reports. The package is reportedly being called a “global settlement” meant to resolve the ongoing litigation between Moonves and Shari Redstone, the controlling shareholder of CBS. Moonves and Redstone have been in battle since well before Farrow’s initial shocking exposé.

In Farrow’s original investigative report published by the New Yorker in July, Moonves was accused of sexual harassment by six women, some of them prominent CBS stars, over a two-decade period. Actress Illeana Douglas described a meeting with Moonves in which he forcibly kissed her without her consent, and other victims, including a former child star named “Kimberly” and a high-profile actress on a 1980s police drama, detailed allegations of unwanted touching, kissing, and threats by the CBS boss.

The new allegations about Les Moonves come just one day before his wife, CBS host Julie Chen, is set to premiere the ninth season of her daytime chatfest, The Talk. As the Inquisitr previously reported, Chen, who married Moonves in 2004, previously issued a statement in support of her husband of 14 years, describing him as “a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader” as well as a “kind, decent and moral human being.” At the time, Chen said she fully supported her husband and stands behind him and his statement.

The Talk host also made a brief statement on-air in late July.

“Some of you may be aware of what’s going on in my life the past few days. I issued the one and only statement I will ever make on this topic on Twitter, and I will stand by that statement today, tomorrow, forever,” she said.

Chen made it clear she would not be speaking about the topic publicly again, but it may be impossible not to address the new allegations or Moonves’ eventual departure from CBS.