UPDATED with a statement from the investigators looking into allegations at CBS.
Former CBS CEO Les Moonves destroyed evidence and misled investigators in an attempt to protect his reputation and preserve a lucrative severance deal, according to a report obtained by the New York Times.
This report, which is to be delivered to the CBS directors ahead of next week’s annual shareholders meeting, concludes that the media company has justification to deny Moonves his $120 million severance, the Times reports.
Moonves engaged in “multiple acts of serious, nonconsensual sexual misconduct,” both in the workplace and outside, according to the Times. Over the course of four interviews, lawyers conducting the inquiry found him to be “evasive and untruthful,” the Times reported, citing the 59-page document.
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CBS declined comment. However, the investigators looking into the allegations at CBS issued a statement tonight, saying it has not yet reported any findings to the board, and the board has reached no conclusions.
“The investigators and the board are committed to a thorough and fair process. No draft of the investigators’ ongoing work product has been shared with the board or the company,” the investigators said. “Our work is still in progress and there are bound to be many facts and assessments that evolve and change as the work is completed. Anyone who may have disclosed draft information to the New York Times did so without authority and in violation of their obligations.“
A spokesman for Moonves could not immediately be reached for comment. However, his attorney, Andrew J. Levander, denied his client engaged in nonconsensual sex and told the Times that he fully cooperated with the investigation.
Moonves was forced to resign in September, after a dozen women came forward with allegations of sexual aggression. The long-time CBS executive has repeatedly denied any misconduct.
Lawyers conducting an independent investigation of the allegations spoke to 11 of 17 Moonves accusers. Investigators reportedly found that he received oral sex from at least four CBS employees under circumstances it described as “improper,” the Times reported.
One particularly startling revelation in the Times account is that investigators received reports of one network employee who was “on call” to perform oral sex on Moonves, whose attorney flatly rejected that characterization.
The report also details the accusation leveled by Bobbie Phillips, who claimed Moonves forced her to perform oral sex during a meeting in 1995. The Times detailed the incident, and the former CBS executive’s efforts to find her work to buy her silence.
Moonves marriage to Julie Chen in 2004 marked an end to such conduct, the report found.
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