CBS reaches deal with CEO Leslie Moonves amid new sexual harassment claims

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves hit with six additional claims of sexual harassment and assault

Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves of harassment or assault in previous decades as he and the media company's board negotiate his exit, the New Yorker reported.

The New Yorker reported on Sunday (Sep 9) that the women say they were harassed or assaulted between 1980 and the early 2000s by Moonves, who in more than two decades with the network helped lift it from last place to profitable status as America's most-watched.

Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello will serve as president and acting CEO until the board finds a permanent replacement.

The accusations were more serious than those from six other women who The New Yorker reported in July had accused Moonves of unwanted touching or kissing.

In a statement to the magazine, Moonves said the "appalling accusations" are untrue, but he acknowledged consensual relations with three of the women before he started working at CBS.

Last November, O'Donnell and co-host Gayle King spoke candidly after CBS fired former co-host Charlie Rose, who also faced numerous sexual misconduct allegations.

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.

Moonves' resignation, following similar claims made by six other women against him, could be announced as early as Monday morning, according to sources familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the plans had not been made public. She said Moonves forced her to perform oral sex on him.

He was promoted to president and CEO of CBS Television in 1998, and became chairman in 2003. But the scrutiny of Moonves and his actions has cast a cloud across the company.

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The latest allegations were not addressed in CBS' announcement of Moonves' exit.

"Remember that the world is watching", Time's Up said in a statement.

Moonves told The New Yorker that some of the incidents from his 12 accusers were consensual.

Moonves, who turned CBS from an aging radio and TV broadcaster into a successful provider of shows to digital platforms, had been expected to reap an estimated $100 million in severance. She claims that Moonves forced her to perform oral sex and greeted her in his office during a meeting without trousers and with an erection.

Now, with Moonves reportedly departing CBS, the future of the company could be in jeopardy.

Redstone had been pushing to merge CBS and Viacom, and Moonves had opposed the move. "It is systematic, and it is pervasive in our culture", O'Donnell said in a near-verbatim reiteration of her November comments.

Also, six new independent CBS board members, including three women, were named - replacing six outgoing board members, the company said. "As you all know, there is unbelievable 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". The New Yorker said that while police found her allegations "credible" the alleged incidents happened too long ago to prosecute.

Separately, CBS and its controlling shareholder National Amusements Inc (NAI) will also end litigation for control of the company.

Organizations that have supported women coming forward with stories of abuse, including Time's Up and Press Forward, said Sunday that CBS should be transparent about the findings of its internal investigation despite Moonves' ouster.

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