Moonves resigned from the media company on Sunday, hours after the New Yorker published new allegations of sexual misconduct against the former CEO. CBS said it was withholding an exit package of $120 million pending the outcome of the board’s independent investigation.
CBS said it would donate $20 million to one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement.
The Time’s Up organization said the media company can do better than that, in a letter addressed to the CBS directors and the company’s controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone.
“We also urge that the full amount reserved for Mr. Moonves’ severance be contributed to organizations that address sexual harassment and workplace safety,” the organization wrote. “That is $120 million dollars that will either go to Mr. Moonves or back into the coffers of the company that allowed the culture created by Mr. Moonves to continue. Or that $120 million can create change by going to organizations – and there are many impactful organizations – that can help women of all kinds.
“The choice is yours. But the answer is obvious. We ask that you not dishonor the bravery of those who have come forward by spending that money unwisely.”
Time’s Up called on the directors and senior management to remake the culture of the company to ensure a safe workplace. It said sexual harassment, retaliation and toxic environments exist in places where employees don’t feel safe.
“Full, independent investigations of alleged wrongdoing and the departure of a few executives is only the start,” Time’s Up wrote. “Real progress can only occur with a transparent commitment to long-term structural changes from top to bottom.”
The advocacy group, formed in January in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein revelations to help all women who are the victims of workplace harassment and violence, lauded Redstone for appointing several new women to the media company’s board of directors. But it said that in acting so quickly, she failed to include women of color and other underrepresented candidates.
Time’s Up also called on CBS’s board to make the following commitments:
A full, independent investigation of any allegations of sexual harassment, regardless of whether the subject of the investigation resigns or departs. Those who come forward must also be protected from potential retaliation.
Establishing a workplace culture that represents the values of safety, equity and dignity, with this tone set from the top of the company. The board should establish regular (not just special committee) oversight of workplace culture as a matter of corporate governance, and senior management should be held accountable with specific and measurable benchmarks.
Establishing a hiring, promotion and retention policy that will create an inclusive workforce at all levels, and set and measure goals for achieving a workplace reflective of the American population. This includes aggressive recruitment for truly diverse management talent, as well as the pipeline for entry-level positions. As listed on the company’s website, the nine current most senior members of the CBS Corporation Executive management team and the heads of each of CBS’s Divisions are all men.
Providing training at all levels of the company, including the board, on the company’s values, diversity and inclusion, and management skills, and commit to providing this training on a regular basis.
Undertaking a pay equity study, and commit to closing any racial, ethnic or gender gaps.
Time’s Up acknowledged that change won’t happen overnight. But it said that making the recommended changes would make CBS a model for the entertainment industry.
Contacted by Deadline about the new suggestions by Time’s Up, a CBS spokesperson today said the company had no comment.
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