Stephen Colbert Addresses CBS Boss Les Moonves Sexual Misconduct Allegations

31 July, 2018, 18:00 | Author: Austin Daniel
  • Chris Goodney  Bloomberg via Getty Images

The board of CBS Corporation said Monday that it is in the process of selecting a firm to conduct an independent investigation focusing on Chairman and CEO Les Moonves in the wake of sexual assault accusations made against him. The CBS board of directors, which Moonves leads, met Monday.

The New Yorker on Friday published a lengthy account of allegations by six women who said Moonves had sexually harassed them during his decades at the network.

After a couple more jokes, including one about how the CBS board is hiring outside lawyers to investigate (which is true) and they should just give the task to the network's new procedural, "CSI: CEO", Colbert moved on.

Some board members this weekend spoke about whether Moonves should step aside during the probe, one source said.

Meanwhile, CFRA Research downgraded CBS on Monday from buy to hold, citing the unclear near-term outlook for the company.

Corporate governance experts said there could be several reasons why CBS's board may not want to fire Moonves, including its fiduciary duty to shareholders to minimize the company's legal liabilities.

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The CBS annual meeting is scheduled for August 10.

"Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company", he wrote in a statement, "I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances".

Shares in CBS, after two straight days of setbacks that cut their value by 11%, have re-entered positive territory this morning, rising a fraction to about $51.50.

Moonves is locked in a battle over control of CBS with the company's largest shareholder, National Amusements Inc, which is owned by Shari Redstone and her father Sumner Redstone. The stock has slipped more than 10% since news of the report surfaced. In this video clip, Colbert says he doesn't know what the fallout will be, because "in a situation like this, I'd normally call Les", per Deadline. When she rebuffed his advance and asked what he was doing, he replied, "Well, I was hitting on you". And it may have a wider-reaching effect as CBS faces a potential merger Moonves is fighting tooth and nail.

The first anonymous source, a "prominent actress who played a police officer on a long-running CBS program", alleged that after being wrongfully fired in the mid-'90s, she sat for a lunch meeting in Moonves's private office dining room.

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