Ousted CBS President Les Moonves is facing new allegations that he forced oral sex on an actress, which could put his $120 million severance package at risk.
The alleged incident was detailed in a new story from the New York Times, claiming that Moonves forced aspiring actress Bobbie Phillips to perform oral sex on him at a meeting in 1995 in which he was promising to get her a job.
As the report noted, the incident left Phillips traumatized.
“Before the incident with Mr. Moonves, Ms. Phillips said, she had loved going to auditions. Now the prospect gave her anxiety attacks,” the report noted. “She refused to attend meetings alone with studio executives. Once, before a movie screening, she was so scared of potentially encountering Mr. Moonves that she vomited in an alley outside the theater.”
The story went on to say that Moonves and longtime friend Marv Dauer, the agent who represented Phillips and booked her the 1995 meeting, conspired to buy her silence. Correspondences between Dauer and Moonves acquired by the New York Times and testimony from the agent showed that both appeared worried about her story getting out.
“I think I’ll be O.K.,” Moonves said, according to Mr. Dauer’s sworn statement. “But if Bobbie talks, I’m done.”
Moonves denied the charges.
“I strongly believe that the sexual encounter with Ms. Phillips more than 20 years ago was consensual,” Moonves said in a statement to the New York Times.
But CNN noted that the allegation could still haunt Moonves, who has been paid $120 million from CBS in what is called a “grantor trust” that has not yet been released to him. Though Moonves was pushed out of the network amid a series of claims of sexual misconduct, the network granted the golden parachute in negotiations with Moonves’ lawyers.
The story noted that a lawyer hired by CBS to investigate the allegations had spoken to Moonves about the incident with Phillips, but he had initially claimed that they he only exposed himself before admitting that they had oral sex, though claimed it was consensual.
New York Times editor Jim Windolf commented on Twitter that he believed it would be unlikely for Les Moonves to receive the $120 million package after the story revealed his allegedly continued efforts to silence sexual assault victims.
It was not immediately clear what stipulations CBS may have placed on the $120 million payment for Les Moonves, and the company did not comment on the New York Times article.