Shortly after Ronan Farrow published a piece in the New Yorker accusing CBS CEO and chairman Leslie Moonves of sexually harassing six women, the board said it was launching an investigation into these allegations and hired two law firms to do so. There has been little movement or word on the results of that investigation—but today, CNBC reports that sources close to the situation say the board and Moonves have been discussing his exit for “some time.”
What’s been the hold-up? Moonves’ exit package. Because of his contract, Moonves is reportedly entitled to a handsome severance package, although it sounds like the board is trying to make this marginally more difficult for him:
While under his contract he is due as much as $180 million in severance and a production deal, sources say the board is offering a roughly $100 million exit package made up almost entirely of CBS stock and wants the right to claw back some of that compensation if at the conclusion of an ongoing investigation into charges of sexual harrassment [sic], Moonves has been found to have committed other inappropriate acts.
In August, Moonves stepped down from the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality.
He has responded to the allegations in Farrow’s report, saying: “I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances.” However, he rejects the claim that he set out to damage the careers of those women: “I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career.” According to Farrow’s reporting, all six of his accusers “said that he became cold or hostile after they rejected his advances, and that they believed their careers suffered as a result.”