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Les Moonves Exits as CBS CEO

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  • Atypical
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    And he’s outta there! #MeToo.

    MOONVES TO EXIT
    by: Cynthia Littleton | Sep 9, 2018, 4:50 AM
    VARIETY

    Leslie Moonves’ tenure at CBS Corp. is expected to end within the next 24 hours as new allegations of sexual assault and harassment surface in an investigative report by Ronan Farrow.

    The report published Sunday by the New Yorker includes allegations against the CBS Corp. chairman-CEO from six women who say they had disturbing encounters with Moonves, with some claims going back to the 1980s through the early 2000s.

    Phyliss Golden-Gottlieb, a former executive who worked with Moonves at Lorimar Television in the 1980s, alleges that Moonves forced her to perform oral sex on him. Golden-Gottlieb also described an incident in which Moonves, angry over a work-related issue, threw her against a wall. She said he then began to retaliate against her on the job.

    Golden-Gottlieb said she made no complaint at the time because she was a single mother supporting two children. Last year, as the #MeToo movement spread, Golden-Gottlieb said she sought to pursue criminal charges with Los Angeles police. According to the New Yorker, police found her claims credible but opted not to pursue charges because the statute of limitations has expired. The New Yorker report raised the question of whether Moonves was forthcoming with the CBS board of directors about the existence of the criminal investigation last year.

    In a statement to the New Yorker, Moonves said some of the encounters described in the story were consensual, but did not specify which. Daniel Petrocelli, an attorney for Moonves, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday morning.

    “The appalling accusations in this article are untrue. What is true is that I had consensual relations with three of the women some 25 years ago before I came to CBS,” Moonves told the New Yorker. “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. Anyone who knows me knows that the person described in this article is not me.”

    The allegations come about six weeks after Farrow published his first New Yorker expose on Moonves on July 27. The report forced CBS’ board of directors to hire two law firms to launch an internal investigation of Moonves’ conduct.

    In a statement, CBS cited the ongoing investigation. The company would not comment on Moonves’ status. Multiple sources say the announcement of his departure from the company he has helped lead for 23 years is coming by Monday.

    “CBS takes these allegations very seriously. Our Board of Directors is conducting a thorough investigation of these matters, which is ongoing,” CBS said in a statement. A representative for the CBS board reiterated the focus on the investigation in a separate statement. “The CBS Board of Directors is committed to a thorough and independent investigation of the allegations, and that investigation is actively underway,” a spokesman said.

    Industry observers were surprised that Moonves remained in place after the initial Farrow report. The allegations in Sunday’s report — incorporating not only sexual misconduct but violence and a concerted effort to retaliate against those who rebuffed him — have made it virtually impossible for the board of directors to not take action. It remains unclear whether Moonves will be fired or allowed to resign.

    Moonves already has been negotiating an exit agreement with the CBS board, given the pressure created by the initial Farrow report. Reports that the talks have been focused on a severance package of $100 million or more have spurred outrage among many observers. The Time’s Up advocacy group issued a statement on Thursday blasting CBS for considering such a sum in light of the allegations. It’s understood that the exit agreement talks have included a clawback provision that would allow CBS to reclaim some of the severance package if the investigation corroborates the sexual assault allegations.

    Makeup artist Deborah Green and former Lorimar executive Deborah Morris told Farrow of experiencing sexually aggressive behavior from Moonves and having him retaliate after being rebuffed. Writer Linda Silverthorn said she had consensual encounters with Moonves in the 1980s when he was an executive at 20th Century Fox. Six years later, when she went his Warner Bros. office for a professional meeting, he exposed himself and coerced her to touch him in a sexual manner.

    Jessica Pallingston, who worked as an assistant to Moonves when he was at Warner Bros. Television in 1994, described a hotel room encounter in which he tried to coerce her to have sex. After she started shaking as a result of a panic attack, he backed off, according to the New Yorker. But Moonves continued to attempt to grope her at times, and was also hostile to her later when she encountered him through her work for other Warner Bros. executives.

    Massage therapist Deborah Kitay said Moonves propositioned her repeatedly when she worked for him, at his office and his home, in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The story also cites former executives who worked at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. who noted a history of complaints about sexual behavior from Moonves when he would receive massages at the hotel.

    Moonves responded to the first story with a statement expressing regret for having “made some women uncomfortable by making advances.” Last month, Moonves hired prominent litigator Petrocelli to represent him in connection with CBS’ internal probe.

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    Anonymous
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    I wonder if Julie Chen will be professionally affected

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    Riley
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    I wonder more if she sticks with him.

    Moonves was probably one of the two most respected network executive, so it is too bad that another great one was actually far from great.

    "I don't even believe in god, but I'm going to thank her tonight."

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    vinny
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    Not surprised to be honest. HOPEFULLY Chen had no idea of anything and sticks around on CBS.

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    Atypical
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    I bet Chenbot is regretting her flippant “stand by my man” statement she referenced for thirty seconds on “The Talk.” I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of a pending “leave of absence” from her team at some point relatively soon.

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    Atypical
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    CBS ACTING CEO JOE IANNIELLO VOWS TO FOSTER “SAFE AND POSITIVE WORKING ENVIRONMENT”
    by Cynthia Littleton | Sep 10, 2018
    VARIETY

    Acting CBS president-CEO Joe Ianniello has vowed to foster a “safe and positive working environment” for CBS staffers as he takes the helm following Sunday’s upheaval with the departure of Leslie Moonves as chairman-CEO and big changes to the company’s board of directors.

    “Never has it been more important for us to make it abundantly clear that CBS has a steadfast commitment to diversity, inclusion and a safe and positive working environment,” Ianniello wrote in a memo sent Monday morning to CBS’ 20,000 employees worldwide. “This is an integral part of our growth plan as together we unlock the immense talents across our entire employee base.”

    Ianniello takes the reins after Moonves was forced out amid a growing list of women coming forward with sexual assault and misconduct allegations against the longtime industry titan. On Sunday, CBS and National Amusements Inc. also settled the bitter lawsuit that erupted in May as part of a clash between controlling shareholder Shari Redstone and Moonves about the future direction for CBS. Ianniello has been Moonves’ right-hand lieutenant on the business side for more than a decade.

    “Today also marks a major transition for all of us as Leslie Moonves departs from CBS. Les’ departure occurs at a time when we are operating from a position of great strategic strength,” Ianniello wrote. “As you all know, there is amazing work going on across the Company, and I feel confident we have the best people in the business to continue building on our outstanding success.”

    Ianniello noted that CBS Corp. spends about $7 billion a year on content across all of its divisions — the CBS network, Showtime, its local O&O stations and publisher Simon & Schuster.

    “The strength and evolution of all of these businesses has led us to where we are today – a global premium content powerhouse. Time and again, we have developed and executed strategies that capitalize on our unique and advantageous position, and what’s most exciting is that we are still in the early innings of that process,” Ianniello wrote.

    The pressure is CBS leaders because the exposes by Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker that drove Moonves from his perch also raised serious questions about the culture of CBS. Many insiders have bristled at the notion that women face a hostile working environment at CBS. But the scrutiny of Moonves and his actions has cast a cloud across the company. The hope is that a new CEO and big transition on the board of directors — with six new members joining the 14-member panel — will allow for a fresh start.

    Ianniello has been closely aligned with Moonves and had been a big proponent of the lawsuit CBS filed against NAI in May. Many insiders are rooting for him to become permanent CEO, but he will have to overcome a rocky relationship with Redstone in recent months, and he will have to make a big impression on the newly constituted board.

    Ianniello has been with CBS for 21 years, rising through the ranks on the business side. He has been chief operating officer since 2013. He was promoted to chief financial officer in 2009.

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    Atypical
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    CBS SETS ASIDE $120 MILLION FOR MOONVES SEVERANCE, PENDING INVESTIGATIONS
    by Brian Steinberg | Sep 10, 2018
    VARIETY

    CBS Corp. said it had set aside $120 million as a potential severance payment for former CEO Leslie Moonves, pending the results of an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct that have been leveled against the company’s longtime chief.

    In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, CBS said it would place the sum of $120 million into a “grantor trust” that would be paid to Moonves “in the event that the Board determines that the Company is not entitled to terminate Mr. Moonves’s employment for cause, or in the event of a final determination in arbitration that the Company is not entitled to terminate Mr. Moonves’s employment for cause.” Mooves left his job as chairman and CEO of CBS Corp. last night in the wake of multiple allegations from women made in two articles published by The New Yorker accusing him of a series of incidents of sexual misconduct. In a statement Sunday, Moonves said he was “deeply saddened’ to depart and noted “Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am.”

    Should CBS find reason to terminate Moonves for cause, the company said, the funds “will be distributed to the Company and the Company will have no further obligations to Mr. Moonves.”

    An additional $20 million that would have been earmarked for Moonves’ severance is instead slated to be distributed to ” one or more charitable organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace,” the filing said. Those groups have been designated by Moonves in consultation with CBS.

    There is a chance Moonves could continue to work for and be paid by CBS aside from matters of severance. According to the filing, Moonves has agreed to provide “transition advisory services” to CBS for one year following his resignation – or until the board determines it’s entitled to terminate him for cause. As part of that agreement, CBS would “provide Mr. Moonves with office services and security services for up to two years following his resignation,” the filing said.

    Moonves has long been one of the highest-paid CEOs in the U.S., let alone the media industry. He earned $69.3 million in 2017, according to past SEC filings made by CBS, a slight decline from his 2016 haul of $69.6 million.

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    Riley
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    Apparently has a $700 million net worth without it.

    "I don't even believe in god, but I'm going to thank her tonight."

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    Guest 2018
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    I bet Chenbot is regretting her flippant “stand by my man” statement she referenced for thirty seconds on “The Talk.” I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of a pending “leave of absence” from her team at some point relatively soon.

    She’s gone from The Talk for the rest of the week to “be with her family”.

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    Atypical
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    ^^^Just as I figured. I think Chen’s days on “The Talk” are numbered.

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    RobertPius
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    Is Chen still appearing on Big Brother?

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    Atypical
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    Is Chen still appearing on Big Brother?

    Chen said in her statement that she will return on Thursday night to “Big Brother.” We’ll see, I guess. She’s completely replaceable regardless.

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    smurty11
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    I wonder if the new leadership will take more artistic chances rather than rely on mass appeal cop shows and multi-cam sitcoms.

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    Teridax
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    I wonder if the new leadership will take more artistic chances rather than rely on mass appeal cop shows and multi-cam sitcoms.

    Here’s hoping! I want CBS to turn itself around and quit being a bland-as-shit joke of modern television. Last I checked the only great show they still had on there was and is Survivor, which is a Reality competition show, not a scripted drama or comedy, though it certainly can have some quality character development.

    For your Goldderby Film Awards consideration: Isle of Dogs for every category, especially Music Score for Alexandre Desplat!

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    Atypical
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    Gurlll…bye.

    JULIE CHEN RETURNS TO “BIG BROTHER”: “I’M JULIE CHEN MOONVES”
    by Variety Staff | Sep 13, 2018
    VARIETY

    It’s back to business as usual for Julie Chen—at least when it comes to hosting “Big Brother.”

    Less than a week after her husband Leslie Moonves was ousted from his position as CEO and chairman of CBS, Chen was back on the network to oversee the latest live episode of the reality competition series. She did not take time to directly address or acknowledge what was going on behind-the-scenes at CBS, but she did sign off in a new way that showcased her support for her husband.

    “From outside the ‘Big Brother’ house … I’m Julie Chen Moonves. Good night,” she said.

    The rest of the hour-long episode was instead focused solely on pushing forward all of the extra game elements that come with the special double eviction episode.

    When the first allegations against Moonves came out in July, Chen immediately took to Twitter to defend the man she not only married but for whom she also works. “Leslie is a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader,” she tweeted at the time. “He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being. I fully support my husband and stand behind him and his statement.”

    This “Big Brother” episode marks Chen’s first time on television since Moonves was ousted. She sat out the first few shows of “The Talk’s” ninth season, which she co-hosts, earlier this week. At the time, she released a statement that said she would be spending time with family but planned to be back on-air in time for the next live episode of “Big Brother.” She still has yet to make a statement about how she feels about the recent allegations against and investigation into Moonves. Meanwhile, her “Talk” co-hosts all already spoke out in support of transparency when it comes to CBS releasing the results of that investigation.

    “How are women ever going to feel comfortable in the workplace if they still think that power and money will be held over their heads?” Sharon Osbourne said on the daytime talker Tuesday. “It’s never going to end. It shouldn’t be allowed for anybody to have the verdict kept sealed. It’s not fair to women. It will never end.”

    Chen’s lack of acknowledgment of what was going on behind-the-scenes was not unexpected for viewers. Contestants within the house are cut off from news of the outside world and do not know what is going on at the network to which they devoted their summers. The question is when she will return to “The Talk,” where she won’t be able to avoid the subject.

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