Leslie Moonves, the longtime chief executive of CBS, stepped down on Sunday just hours after six more women publicly accused him of sexual misconduct.
Moonves, who has acknowledged some of the relationships but vehemently denied any wrongdoing, has been under scrutiny since July when The New Yorker published its first article by Ronan Farrow in which half a dozen women accused Moonves of sexual misconduct and assault, including incidents as far back as the mid 1980s. Its second article, published Sunday, revealed an additional six women who’ve come forward with similar accusations.
The 68-year-old executive, one of the highest-paid in the TV business, is expected to get anywhere from $0 to $120 million in severance depending on the outcome of an independent investigation into the claims. The network announced it would take $20 million out of the severance and donate it to one or more organizations that support equality for women in the workplace.
Moonves has been chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation since 2006, helping make it the nation’s most popular broadcast network for years during his tenure, with hits such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS,” though the company has recently faced controversy over its leaders and stockholders. His stepping down marks just the latest high-powered man in entertainment to leave his position of power in the #MeToo era.
Here’s a timeline of the allegations against Moonves, going back decades:
- Early 1980s
Emmy winner Dinah Kirgo told The New Yorker that Moonves called her after a professional meeting and asked her out. She denied his advances and said she thinks saying no to Moonves hurt her career.
Writer Janet Jones told The New Yorker that she was in a pitch meeting when Moonves forcibly kissed her. She said when she tried to get away, his office door was locked. He only unlocked it once she threatened to scream.
Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb told The New Yorker that Moonves drove her to a secluded area in 1986 and forcibly held her head down to give him oral sex. Then, in 1988, she said he left a meeting in his office and returned without pants on. She said she immediately left the office, rejecting his advances. The next day, she said, he pushed her against a wall. She told The New Yorker that her career suffered as a result. She reported the assault to the Los Angeles Police Department late last year, but the statute of limitations had expired, so prosecutors declined to pursue any charges.
Deborah Morris was a junior executive when she says Moonves attempted to kiss her, and she “bolted.” She told The New Yorker that Moonves continued to harass her for months, and one night when she was in the passenger seat of his car, Moonves grabbed her by both of her shoulders and attempted to force himself on her. After that, Morris said she was frozen out of meetings and Moonves refused to speak to her. She said her career suffered as a result.
A “prominent actress who played a police officer on a long-running CBS program, who was too frightened of reprisals to use her name,” told the New Yorker that in the late 1980s Moonves asked her out. She declined, and then in 1995, when he became president of CBS Entertainment, the actress called to congratulate him.
“He said, ‘You should have fucked me when I asked you to,’ and I said, ‘No shit!’” she told The New Yorker.
Later, the two met together about a work deal, when Moonves forcibly kissed her. She never worked at CBS again.
Linda Silverthorn told The New Yorker that Moonves began kissing her when she was in a meeting in his office. Silverthorn, a writer, said he then “just pulled his penis out.”
A former child star who was identified only by her first name, Kimberly, told The New Yorker that he attempted to get a hotel room for the two of them. When she declined, Moonves became angry and left.
Jessica Pallingston told The New Yorker that Moonves asked her for a message and attempted to force her to perform oral sex on him when she was an executive assistant. She said he forcibly pushed her head down for her to perform oral sex on him, when she began shaking and said she “can’t do this.” She said he didn’t push it any further, but later grabbed her breasts and had loud phone sex in front of her.
Deborah Kitay told The New Yorker that when she was a massage therapist in the late 1990s, Moonves regularly propositioned her. According to The New Yorker, multiple other massage therapists at the Four Seasons hotel in Washington, D.C., complained about Moonves.
Actor Illeana Douglas told the New Yorker that she was called into a meeting with Moonves when he pinned her down on a couch, forcibly kissed her, and pulled up her skirt while thrusting into her.
“It’ll just be between you and me. Come on, you’re not some nubile virgin,” Moonves, who was married at the time, allegedly told Douglas. She ran out of the room and was fired the following week.
Deborah Green was working with Moonves as a freelance makeup artist for a promotional shoot when she said he got up and aggressively kissed her.
Producer Christine Peters told The New Yorker that when she met Moonves at his office to discuss a project, he sat down close to her on a couch and put his hand up her skirt and touched her underwear.
- July 27, 2018
Moonves is publicly accused of sexual misconduct by six women in a New Yorker piece by Ronan Farrow. In response, he issued a statement denying the allegations, writing: “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.” CBS’ independent directors opened an investigation into the allegations.
- September 9, 2018
In another bombshell report out of The New Yorker, six more women publicly said they were also sexually harassed or assaulted by Moonves. He stepped down hours after The New Yorker article was published, and the network announced that it would take $20 million out of Moonves’ severance and donate it to one or more organizations that support equality for women in the workplace.