It's out. The expected exposé from the New Yorker about CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has landed, and it could be big trouble for the Hollywood giant. In the lengthy story by Ronan Farrow, six women accuse the 68-year-old of sexual misconduct that stretches from the 1980s to more recent years. Some highlights:
- Key paragraph: "Four described forcible touching or kissing during business meetings, in what they said appeared to be a practiced routine. Two told me that Moonves physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers. All said that he became cold or hostile after they rejected his advances, and that they believed their careers suffered as a result."
- Moonves denial: His statement reads in part: "I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected—and abided by the principle—that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career."
- One example: "What happened to me was a sexual assault, and then I was fired for not participating,” says actress (Six Feet Under) and writer Illeana Douglas. She describes a meeting in 1997 with Moonves ostensibly to discuss a script in which he pinned her down on a couch and "violently" kissed her, pulled up her skirt, and began thrusting against her. “It’ll just be between you and me," she quotes him as saying. "Come on, you’re not some nubile virgin." She says she finally managed to free herself, with Moonves warning her not to discuss the incident, and was fired the following week. Moonves acknowledged trying to kiss Douglas, but denied “any characterization of ‘sexual assault,’ intimidation, or retaliatory action.”
- Widespread: The story also alleges that Moonves oversaw a corporate culture at CBS in which powerful men—current 60 Minutes producer Jeff Fager is named—turned a blind eye to sexual harassment and worse. (See Charlie Rose.) A statement from CBS countered, "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."
Read the full story
. (Read more Leslie Moonves