An in-depth piece published Wednesday by The New York Times reveals that the board of directors of CBS Corp. was largely prepared to stand behind Leslie Moonves in late July as public accusations of sexual harassment and assault began to surface.
“Some directors, led by CBS’s controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone, thought that Mr. Moonves had to go. But the network’s longstanding hitmaker had been lobbying directors, arguing that the allegations were false or hyped. And his support ran deep,” The Times reports.
The report quotes one of the directors, Arnold Kopelson, an 83-year-old producer who won a Best Picture Oscar for “Platoon,” saying: “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff. Les is our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.”
But The Times reports that as the situation played out, support for Moonves began to erode.
“What these directors didn’t learn until nearly two weeks later, according to a CBS director and people close to the board, is that one of Mr. Moonves’s accusers was threatening to go public with her claims. Instead of reporting the situation, Mr. Moonves was in the process of trying to find the woman a job at CBS in order to gain her continued silence,” The Times reports. “When the board learned about this, even Mr. Moonves’s staunchest backers were stunned. Their belief in his credibility was shattered given his previous denials of anything untoward, these people said.”
The report adds: “In the end, it was the evidence that Mr. Moonves had misled his board — even more than the allegations of abuse from multiple women — that doomed him.”
We encourage readers to click on the link above to The New York Times to read the full report.