CBS makes it official: Leslie Moonves is out


Still, he and the company he formerly ran just made a $20 million donation to support the #MeToo movement.

After weeks of allegations of sexual misconduct and months of a bitter legal battle with National Amusements, CBS CEO Les Moonves is out and Shari Redstone can declare victory, again.

The negotiations over Moonves' departure are said to revolve largely around the size of his severance payment.

In August, the CBS board of directors hired two outside law firms to investigate the initial claims against Moonves, as well as other reports of sexual harassment and an inappropriate culture for women throughout CBS and the CBS News division.

Moonves departs immediately. Joseph Ianniello, the company's chief operating officer and a longtime acolyte of Moonves, has been named interim CEO while the board conducts a search for a permanent replacement. It is unclear when he first knew that he had to go.

These fresh accounts of sexual misconduct include claims that Moonves forced women to perform oral sex on him and that he exposed himself to them without their consent.

CNN reports that official word on Moonves' departure from CBS is expected by Monday. Other women alleged he forcibly kissed and touched them in the workplace and, in some cases, retaliated against them professionally for rejecting his advances.

"The CBS Evening News", in particular, has experienced ample turnover - the ouster of Dan Rather amid controversy, the failed Katie Couric experiment, pushing out Scott Pelley - but "60 Minutes" has remained TV's premiere newsmagazine, and changes to "CBS This Morning" have yielded significant ratings gains (even if the show remains in third place), despite the sexual-misconduct allegations that prompted Charlie Rose's exit, and additional charges of misconduct that have surrounded the news division.

More news: CBS CEO Moonves negotiating exit with board

CNBC reported in early September that the CBS board would offer Moonves a roughly $100 million exit package consisting almost entirely of CBS stock. Golden-Gottlieb tells The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow "that she filed a criminal complaint late previous year with the Los Angeles Police Department, accusing Moonves of physically restraining her and forcing her to perform oral sex on him, and of exposing himself to her and violently throwing her against a wall in later incidents". Moonves told a portion of the CBS board about the police probe earlier this year, the New Yorker said.

He said on CNN that "these women are coming out now" because "they have been extraordinarily frustrated by what they perceive to be inaction on the part of CBS and its board".

Farrow indicated that CBS has been aware of the new allegations for at least several days.

CBS Corp. has reached an exit deal with Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, according to sources. But if he is removed "for cause", relating to the harassment allegations, for example, such an eye-popping severance package would not be in play.

The board wants conditions to recover some of the money if the allegations are confirmed, CNBC reported, though it is not clear whether there were conditions for a similar clawback if more accusers stepped forward. "Many of the women found that very, very frustrating".

"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", Mooves continued.

Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am.