Les Moonves 'deliberately lied,' deleted messages during CBS sex misconduct probe

Les Moonves 'deliberately lied,' deleted messages during CBS sex misconduct probe

The Times says it has reviewed a draft of a report prepared by lawyers who have been hired by the board of directors of the NY media company.

Moonves, who turned CBS from an aging radio and TV broadcaster into a successful provider of shows to digital platforms and was a major figure at the broadcast network and media company for more than two decades, stepped down as chairman, chief executive officer and president of CBS in September amid a wave of accusations that he subjected women to sexual assault and harassment.

The CBS board of directors hired two law firms, Debevoise & Plimpton and Covington & Burling, to investigate the claims against Moonves as well as culture issues throughout the company. The Times said the report contained allegations that Moonves "received oral sex from at least 4 CBS employees under circumstances that sound transactional and improper to the extent that there was no hint of any relationship, romance, or reciprocity (especially given what we know about his history of more or less forced oral sex with women with whom he has no ongoing relationship)".

The report also details how Moonves attempted to interfere with the lawyers' investigation into his behavior, according to the Times' reporting. It says Moonves could be denied his $120m severance package negotiated after he had to quit in September amid numerous allegations of sexual misbehavior.

Moonves' alleged victims include actresses Bobbie Phillip and Eva LaRue.

"A number of employees were aware of this and believed that the woman was protected from discipline or termination as a result of it", the report reads, according to the Times. For example, Moonves "handed over his son's iPad instead of his own", in an apparent bid to hide damaging text messages, The Times reported.

It said, the woman did not respond to the investigators' requests for an interview. The report details how the former head of communications at CBS drafted a resignation letter for Moonves, which Moonves did not sign, weeks before he actually left the company. That money was originally also to be part of Moonves' exit package.

The draft report, as seen by the Times in late November, reportedly included "previously undisclosed allegations of sexual misconduct". The Times, citing text messages and other evidence, recounted how Moonves tried to keep an accuser silent by arranging possible jobs for her at CBS.

The CBS board said Tuesday that the findings had not yet been reported to its members and that the group had reached "no conclusions". "But it's also reflective of a culture where there seemed to be no accountability, where governance itself seems to have failed at CBS".

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