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Ex-CBS chief Les Moonves and ViacomCBS reach settlement over firing

Ex-CBS chief Les Moonves and ViacomCBS reach settlement over firing
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Former CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves has reached a settlement with ViacomCBS over his termination for sexual harassment accusations, the company and Moonves said in a joint statement issued Friday.

“Leslie Moonves, CBS and a contractor to CBS have​ resolved their disputes,” ViacomCBS said in the announcement.

A ViacomCBS spokesperson did not immediately answer questions about the identity of the contractor.

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Moonves will not get the $120 million severance package that the CBS board declined to give him a few months after he stepped down as CEO in September 2018, though he will get some cash as part of the deal.

The announcement said that Moonves will receive a settlement, paid for by the unnamed CBS contractor, and the money will go to charity.

“The cost of the settlement will be borne by the contractor. Mr. Moonves has decided to contribute the entire settlement amount to various charities,” the statement said. “There will be no further comment regarding this settlement by Mr. Moonves or CBS.”

According to a ViacomCBS financial disclosure, Moonves’s severance package was placed in a trust when he resigned.

Now that the dispute has been resolved, and the parties have dismissed the arbitration proceeding, those funds “will revert to the Company in their entirety,” the disclosure stated.

At least 12 women had accused Moonves of sexual harassment and assault, according to two exposés in The New Yorker. The women said Moonves exposed himself, used physical violence and threatened to damage their careers.

Moonves denied the accusations, saying some of the encounters were consensual and that the women accusing him were possibly “part of a concerted effort by others to destroy my name, my reputation, and my career.”

In early 2019, Moonves launched a new business called Moon Rise Unlimited.