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Les Moonves: No immediate CBS action on harassment claims

31 July 2018

Early trading shows CBS's shares are down almost 4 percent at around $52.00 at 7:10 am PST after tumbling 6 percent Friday following the release of Ronan Farrow's bombshell expose, in which six women accused Moonves of sexual harassment dating back more than two decades. The CBS Board of Directors yesterday took no action in the matter, saying it would seek outside counsel to investigate it further.

A New Yorker article published Friday recounted accounts by six women who had professional dealings with Moonves and said he sexually harassed them between the 1980s and late 2000s.

Kirgo - one of the six women whose experience with Moonves was included in the magazine story - said the meeting "went really well" but was surprised when Moonves, who was married to Nancy Wiesenfeld at the time, asked to meet her privately over dinner. Board members meet via conference call on Monday.

Moonves is the CEO, Chairman of the Board, and President of CBS Corporation. He gave us the time and the resources to succeed and he has stood by us when people were mad at me. "Without Moonves at the helm, we think CBS will be less able to persuade investors that it is better off on its own".

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Kirgo said she made an allusion to Moonves' wife, and her feelings about a one-on-one dinner between the two.

"While the emotional reaction is to sell CBS on the release of the long-rumored and damaging New Yorker article regarding CBS CEO Les Moonves, we believe the stock is undervalued", Gould noted.

CBS shares plunged on news of the company's investigation.

The special committee is set to choose a law firm to lead the probe by mid-week, and determine whether Moonves should be suspended during the investigation, according to the Journal. "Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely", he said.

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But he added that he had "never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone's career".

"I don't know what's going to happen, but I do believe in accountability".

Redstone is challenging a plan by CBS to issue a special dividend aimed at cutting National Amusements' voting power in the company to 17 percent from 80 percent.

"Regardless of Moonves' personal fate, his future and the future of nine other CBS board of directors is now in question".

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Farrow spoke to 30 current and former CBS employees who described a culture that tolerated harassment, gender discrimination, or retaliation at various parts of the company including "CBS Evening News" and "60 Minutes".

Les Moonves: No immediate CBS action on harassment claims