Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
New York, NY, United States (4E) – Leslie Moonves, Chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation and, ironically, a supporter of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, resigned Sunday after at least 12 women accused him of sexual misconduct.
Two separate CBS investigations into Moonves’ misconduct will likely confirm the allegations. The company said it “takes these allegations very seriously. Our Board of Directors is conducting a thorough investigation of these matters, which is ongoing.”
One of the most powerful media moguls in the United States was forced to depart in disgrace after six more women accused him of sexual misconduct in another story published Sunday by The New Yorker. This magazine published a story in July written by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ronan Farrow, which revealed the tales of six women who were sexually assaulted by Moonves in episodes dating back to the 1980s.
The six women cited by Farrow in his follow-up story gave their names and described what Moonves did to them. In addition to these women, Farrow wrote that massage therapists at Washington’s Four Seasons hotel in D.C. complained of sexual misconduct by Moonves in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Farrow’s twin exposes show that Moonves forced women to give him oral sex; exposed himself on numerous occasions; committed violent acts and forciblly kissed, groped and propositioned them. Many of these episodes took place during office time. Moonves also threatened to harm these womens’ careers if they didn’t give in to his sexual demands.
CBS announced Moonves’ resignation early Sunday evening. It said Moonves and the company will donate $20 million to organizations supporting the #MeToo movement. That money will be deducted from any Moonves severance package, which will be determined after an external investigation into the misconduct allegations reveals its findings.
Speculations abound that one of the reasons Moonves agreed to resign so quickly was that receiveds a “golden parachute” severance package totalling $100 million.
Moonves’ sexual transgressions are eerily similar to those of another disgraced media bigwig, Harvey Weinstein, whose widespread and egregious sexual misconduct gave birth to the #MeToo movement last year.
Moonves, of course, denied the allegations. In a statement to The New Yorker, Moonves confirmed three encounters before his tenure at CBS, but said they were consensual. He also said the accusations in this article “are untrue. … And I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women. … 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.”
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