The CEO of CBS, Les Moonves, was publically accused of sexual assault by a number of women. According to the New York Times, members of the board of directors met in late July to determine his fate. One director, Shari Redstone, was adamant about removing Moonves immediately.
But Moonves was in deep with the company and was responsible for such hits as CSI, Without A Trace, and Cold Case. He also had a ton of support within the company: Board members William Cohen and 83-year-old Arnold Kopelson both stood in his corner, with Cohen saying, “we are going to stay in this meeting until midnight if we need to until we get an agreement that we stand 100 percent behind our C.E.O., and there will be no change in his status.”
“I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff. Les is our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him,” said Kopelson.
At the time of their statements, neither Cohen nor Kopelson knew that one of Moonves’ accusers was planning to go public with her allegations. But when Moonves’ supporters learned of his plans to hire the woman on at CBS instead of reporting it, his supporters were shocked. It seemed that he was doing his best to try and gain her silence. As the Times wrote, “it was the evidence that Mr. Moonves had misled his board — even more than the allegations of abuse from multiple women — that doomed him.”
When the second of two damning articles about the accusations against Moonves and written by noted journalist Ronan Farrow for the New Yorker was released on July 27, the board summoned Moonves in to address the allegations. Though it appeared he assuaged their concerns, Moonves announced his resignation from CBS on September 9.
Though Moonves didn’t say much, he continued to call the allegations “appalling,” and said he had “consensual relationships” with the three women who were featured in an article in the New Yorker and who accused Moonves of sexual assault.
“Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am,” said Moonves, referring to the allegations.
The network released a statement about Moonves’ resignation on September 10. They stated that his resignation was effective immediately and that a “financial exit package” would be withheld from him during an investigation into the allegations against him.