The preliminary results of an independent investigation suggest that former CBS head Les Moonves not only frequently engaged in sexual misconduct before and during his tenure at the network, but also obstructed the investigation into his conduct by deliberately witholding evidence and deceiving investigators.
Moonves is said to have “engaged in multiple acts of serious nonconsensual sexual misconduct in and outside of the workplace, both before and after he came to CBS in 1995,” according to an early draft of the 59-page report obtained by the New York Times late last month.
The ex-CEO stepped down in September after numerous women accused him of sexual misconduct in a report published by The New Yorker. He has continously denied the allegations against him and claimed to have had consensual sexual relations with a number of his accusers.
Lawyers hired by CBS to conduct an independent investigation interviewed 11 of the 17 women who have accused Moonves of some manner of sexual misconduct; the version of the report obtained by the Times is said to include even more allegations that have not yet been publicized. Moonves repeatedly violated the terms of his employment by having “transactional” sexual relations, the report says, and and even allegedly kept an unnamed employee “on call” to perform oral sex upon request.
Moonves “received oral sex from at least 4 CBS employees under circumstances that sound transactional and improper to the extent that there was no hint of any relationship, romance, or reciprocity (especially given what we know about his history of more or less forced oral sex with women with whom he has no ongoing relationship),” according to investigators. They received “multiple reports” indicating that the specific employee who Moonves allegedly kept “on call” was believed by her co-workers to be “protected from discipline or termination as a result of” the arrangement.
Moonves denied the existence of such an arrangement, and while he admitted to receiving oral sex from the employee, he categorized their encounters as consensual, according to the report. The employee in question declined to speak with investigators.
Investigators, who interviewed Moonves four times during the course of their investigation, wrote in their report that they found the former TV executive to be “evasive and untruthful at times and to have deliberately lied about and minimized the extent of his sexual misconduct.”
The report is said to address the recently publicized claims of actress Bobbie Phillips, who alleged that Moonves forced her to perform oral sex on him at a private business meeting in his office in 1995, and then tried to secure her silence by negotiating with her manager and offering her paid acting work. While Moonves previously admitted that there was an actress who had accused him of sexual misconduct during a 1995 meeting, he did not disclose to investigators any information regarding negotiations with Phillips’ manager, Marv Dauer, the report said. During the course of their investigation, lawyers found that Moonves deleted text message conversations he’d had with Dauer, and he is alleged to have also given investigators his son’s iPad when they asked to examine his own, according to the Times.
Moonves issued denials via a statement from his lawyer, Andrew J. Levander, who told the Times that his client “denies having any nonconsensual sexual relation” and “cooperated extensively and fully with investigators.”
Since Moonves’ resignation earlier this year, his $120 million severance package has continued to hang in the balance, pending the results of the investigation. Investigators have since concluded that, “based on the facts developed to date, we believe that the board would have multiple bases upon which to conclude that the company was entitled to terminate Moonves for cause,” the report stated.
Investigators are scheduled to share the damning report to the board at CBS next week, but a final conclusion on the matter is not expected to be reached at that point, according to the Times.
“No findings have been reported to the board,” a spokesman for the investigators told the outlet. “The board has reached no conclusions on this matter. The investigators and the board are committed to a thorough and fair process.”
[Photo: Getty Images]
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