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Longtime CBS chief Les Moonves steps down amid hail of new sexual misconduct accusations

Category: Gender based violence 

Les Moonves, the longtime head of the CBS television network, abruptly resigned on Sunday night after six more women came forward with sexual misconduct accusations against him that go all the way back to the 1980s. The network announced his departure in a statement posted on its website. The new accusations are in addition to those leveled by six other women in late July, claims that triggered an investigation inside the CBS corporation into Moonves’ conduct while at the network.


The powerful media executive’s resignation came hours after The New Yorker published another report by Ronan Farrow in which the new crop of accusers detailed their claims against Moonves, some of which preceded his time at CBS when he was working as an executive at Lorimar, a film and TV production company.


According to Farrow’s report, the women accused Moonves of a range of misconduct including forced oral sex, violent forcible kissing, exposing himself while at work, and retaliating against the women who declined hi advancess by taking steps to hinder their careers. Jessica Pallingston, who briefly worked as Moonves’ temporary assistant while he was at Warner Bros., said Moonves forced her to perform oral sex on him — on her very first day on the job.


Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, a former executive at Lorimar in the 1980s, says Moonves forced her to perform oral sex on her when the two were colleagues at the company. On another occasion, she said, he exposed himself to her without her consent. Last year, Golden-Gottlieb reported the incidents to the Los Angeles Police Department, but the police said the statute of limitations for the alleged crimes described by Golden-Gottlieb has expired. She told Farrow that she didn’t speak up about the allegations at the time because she was a single mother raising two children and was worried about her livelihood. “I realized he was the new golden boy,” she said. “I just kept quiet.” Golden-Gottlieb, who is now 82, said the experience has “never left me.”


On Monday, Golden-Gottlieb appeared on Good Morning America and elaborated on the impact of Moonves’ alleged actions. “He really hurt my career,” she told George Stephanopoulos. “Right after he appeared naked, he came running into my office and did this whole thing about … that I didn’t send a memo to anybody. And then he picked me up and threw me against the wall. I mean, I just lay on the floor and cried.”


Moonves, who is married to Big Brother host Julie Chen, once again denied the accusations. In a statement, he said, “Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am,” he said, admitting that he engaged in what he described as consensual sexual activity with three of the accusers, though he did not specify which of the women. He also maintained that he never retaliated in a way that would derail the careers of women. “I am deeply saddened to be leaving the company,” Moonves said, adding that working at CBS was “an incredible privilege.”


In its statement, CBS also said a sum of $20 million from Moonves’ severance would be donated to organizations that support the #MeToo movement. Below watch the full interview with Golden-Gottlieb.




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