Over a month after then-CEO Les Moonves stepped away from the Anita Hill-led Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, there is still no CBS presence at the highest level of the Hollywood organization – and it doesn’t look like there will be for a while.
A day after new allegations of sexual misconduct against the once-mighty executive went were revealed in the New Yorker and Moonves left his CBS perch, a statement from Hill on Monday leaves acting CEO Joe Ianniello out in the cold commission-wise.
“We remain eager to fill this vacancy, and will invite CBS’s new CEO to serve as a Commissioner once the Board of Directors selects Mr. Moonves’ permanent replacement,” said Hill in reference to the now ex-CEO and CBS chair’s departure from the Commission on August 1 under earlier sexual misconduct claims, as Deadline exclusively reported. “It is vital that all of our Commissioners are able to speak for their respective organizations and are empowered to commit them to real action,” the esteemed social policy, law, and women’s studies professor added.
Having formed in late 2017 by Kathleen Kennedy, Nina Shaw, Freada Kapor Klein and Maria Eitel and been founded with Commissioners from the big studios, networks and agencies, the long and the short is the Commission only wants heavyweights.
As acting CBS CEO and President, former COO Ianniello didn’t get Moonves’ chairman title. Adding some insult to that, he also will have to sit in the big seat while Shari Redstone and the CBS board look for a Moonves replacement. Although the longtime-presumed Moonves successor is seen in some corporate and investor circles as a logical choice for the big job permanently, the uncertain nature of his interim appointment means the generally well regarded Ianniello could be a mere seat warmer.
Back in 1991, Professor Hill tried unsuccessfully to stop Clarence Thomas from taking a seat on the Supreme Court. Today, she may have landed the first significant outside blow against Joe Ianniello getting the big seat at CBS.
Here’s the full statement from Anita Hill today:
Shortly after the very serious allegations against Les Moonves first surfaced earlier this summer, the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace immediately accepted Mr. Moonves’s decision to recuse himself from his position as one of our Commissioners. We also said that we would work with CBS to name a new Commissioner from CBS. We remain eager to fill this vacancy, and will invite CBS’s new CEO to serve as a Commissioner once the Board of Directors selects Mr. Moonves’ permanent replacement. The reason is simple. The Commission was created when 25 of Hollywood’s most significant institutions – including major studios, television networks, streaming services, music companies, talent agencies, trade associations, and unions – accepted the invitation to work together to set best policies and practices aimed at eliminating sexual harassment and bias in the entertainment industry. Given this ambitious mandate, it is vital that all of our Commissioners are able to speak for their respective organizations and are empowered to commit them to real action. It is our belief that CBS’s new permanent Chairman and CEO will have the requisite authority to function effectively as a Commissioner and to demonstrate CBS’s commitment to the Commission’s critical mission. That said, we expect to continue working with CBS in the interim, and we look forward to welcoming a new Commissioner from the company at the appropriate time.