NEW YORK (Reuters) – Six additional women have raised assault and harassment claims against CBS Corp (CBS.N) Chief Executive Leslie Moonves in a media report published Sunday.
FILE PHOTO: Leslie Moonves, Chairman and CEO, CBS Corporation, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
The new disclosures come as the media company negotiates his exit following similar claims previously made by six other women against the executive.
The incidents, which the women said took place between the 1980s and early 2000s, were published in a New Yorker story bit.ly/2wUJetu and included claims of forced sex, Moonves exposing himself and use of physical violence and intimidation. All six of the women were named. Reuters could not immediately reach them for comment.
Moonves, 68, who joined CBS in 1995 and became CEO in 2006, could not immediately be reached to comment on Sunday after the latest claims. In a statement to the magazine, Moonves acknowledged three of the encounters, but said they were consensual.
“The appalling accusations in this article are untrue,” Moonves told the New Yorker. “What is true is that I had consensual relations with three of the women some 25 years ago before I came to CBS. And I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women. In my 40 years of work, I have never before heard of such disturbing accusations. I can only surmise they are surfacing now for the first time, decades later, as part of a concerted effort by others to destroy my name, my reputation, and my career.”
CBS said on Sunday it takes such allegations very seriously.
“The CBS Board of Directors is committed to a thorough and independent investigation of the allegations, and that investigation is actively underway,” the media company’s board said in a statement.
A representative of CBS controlling shareholder Shari Redstone and National Amusements declined to comment.
The New Yorker reported on Sunday that the additional six women said Moonves also retaliated after they rebuffed him, damaging their careers.
In August, CBS hired two law firms to investigate allegations of sexual assault and unwanted advances following a New Yorker report that featured claims against Moonves from six women spanning different periods over two decades, from 1985 to 2006.
Following the New Yorker report in August, Moonves said he regretted “immensely” making some women uncomfortable by making advances, but added that he abided by the principle that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and stated he had never misused his position to harm or hinder anyone’s career.
The author of the New Yorker articles, Ronan Farrow, previously has written reports that contributed to the resignation of Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein from his film and TV studio following accusations of sexual misconduct.
Weinstein has denied the accusations, but his downfall helped spawn the #MeToo movement that has forced the resignation of powerful men in Hollywood, corporate America and politics.
CBS’s board has been in talks with Moonves to negotiate his exit, a source familiar with the matter previously told Reuters. Those talks are occurring as CBS and Redstone and National Amusements are also hammering out a settlement to a legal dispute over control of CBS.
Reporting by Kenneth Li in New York, additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Lisa Shumaker