The Times article, citing unnamed senior sources, claims that multiple board members were determined to support Moonves until they were made aware of this deception and understood that the unnamed accuser was prepared to go public with her allegations.
The story claims up until that point multiple board members had staunchly supported Moonves, with one — William Cohen — reportedly saying during a late July conference call, “We are going to stay in this meeting until midnight if we need to until we get an agreement that we stand 100 percent behind our C.E.O., and there will be no change in his status.”
Board member and producer Arnold Kopelson, who won Best Picture Oscar for Platoon and produced movies including The Fugitive and Se7en, reportedly said in a meeting following that call, “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff. Les is our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.”
It was only when the board members clocked on that Moonves had left key details out of his testimony to outside investigators that minds were changed. Moonves, who has been accused by multiple women of inappropriate workplace conduct and sexual harassment, has continued to assert his innocence, though he has acknowledged having had “consensual relationships” with three women who accused him of misconduct in the New Yorker‘s CBS expose from Sunday.
Moonves resigned from the media company on Sunday, hours after the New Yorker article. CBS said it was withholding an exit package of $120M pending the outcome of the board’s independent investigation.
But according to the Times article, by Pulitzer Prize-winner James B Stewart, board members have privately said it is all but certain the company will pay Moonves nothing, which is a major development in this story.
Asked by the Times for comment on whether he tried to find a job for one of his accusers, Moonves declined response. Cohen also declined to comment. Kopelson said in an email to the publication that his point was that the board should wait for outside investigations to be complete and not remove Mr. Moonves based on magazine reports.
The dominos continue to fall. On Wednesday, CBS ousted longtime 60 Minutes head Jeff Fager for what it deemed an inappropriate message to a CBS reporter. Fager’s behavior in the workplace was also scrutinized by Ronan Farrow in his damning Sunday report.