Six women accuse CBS chief Les Moonves of sexual misconduct in The New Yorker

Six women accuse CBS chief Les Moonves of sexual misconduct in The New Yorker
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CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves was accused of sexual misconduct by six women in a New Yorker exposé published Friday, the latest high-profile media figure at the center of allegations of misconduct as a result of the "Me Too" movement.

Six women who previously worked with Moonves told The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow that Moonves sexually harassed them, while four described forcible touching or kissing.

“What happened to me was a sexual assault, and then I was fired for not participating,” Emmy-nominated actress and writer Illeana Douglas told the publication.

“There was the big sell—he was telling me, ‘You’re gonna get a house with a pool, you’re gonna love it, it’s a great life,’ ” she added, before recalling an incident with the network head in his office.


"In a millisecond, he’s got one arm over me, pinning me,” she said, describing his actions as “violently kissing.”

“You sort of black out,” she added. “You think, How long is this going to go on? I was just looking at this nice picture of his family and his kids. I couldn’t get him off me.” 

Douglas added that she was personally fired by Moonves from the comedy "Queens" over a later incident in which Moonves appeared at a rehearsal for the show and berated her.

CBS said in a statement to The New Yorker that Moonves "denies any characterization of 'sexual assault,' intimidation, or retaliatory action." Moonves did, however, acknowledge trying to kiss Douglas, according to the statement.

Another CBS employee, writer Janet Jones, told Farrow that Moonves threw himself on her during a meeting and tried to kiss her.

“He came around the corner of the table and threw himself on top of me. It was very fast," she said. Moonves's assistant, she said, had left the desk outside his office before the meeting began, something she noticed after she left.

“I just thought, 'Oh, my God. This wasn’t like a little momentary boo-boo. It was this well-thought-out thing.' ”

The report said that 30 current and former CBS employees interviewed for the story described a culture of gender discrimination at the network, with men being promoted over women despite allegations of misconduct.

Farrow's report also reviewed several six-figure sexual misconduct-related settlements reached with employees of "60 Minutes," the network's long-running weekend news program.

In a statement to The New Yorker, CBS stated that the company takes claims of misconduct seriously, but believed the picture painted of Moonves and the company by the report was inaccurate.

“CBS is very mindful of all workplace issues and takes each report of misconduct very seriously. We do not believe, however, that the picture of our company created in The New Yorker represents a larger organization that does its best to treat its tens of thousands of employees with dignity and respect," the statement reads.

"We are seeing vigorous discourse in our country about equality, inclusion, and safety in the workplace, and CBS is committed to being part of the solution to those important issues."