Les Moonves' fat severance may be in serious jeopardy based on a new report saying he covered up evidence of his alleged sexual assaults.
The disgraced chief executive of CBS destroyed evidence and attempted to throw off investigators to ensure that he secured his $120 million severance deal, lawyers hired by CBS are prepared to tell the board, according to a report viewed by the New York Times.
The report comes to the conclusion that CBS had the right to terminate Moonves’ employment over alleged sexual assault of multiple employees, which would kill the severance deal for the longtime media titan.
“Based on the facts developed to date, we believe that the board would have multiple bases upon which to conclude that the company was entitled to terminate Moonves for cause,” the 59-page draft report to CBS’ board said, according to the Times.
The report, which was drafted in late November by investigators and could change before it is presented to the board, includes chilling details about Moonves’ conduct during his long tenure at CBS.
The report said that there was a CBS employee who was “on call” to perform oral sex on Moonves. At least four CBS employees performed oral sex on Moonves under circumstances that “sound transactional and improper to the extent that there was no hint of any relationship, romance, or reciprocity,” the report viewed by the Times said.
Anne Peters accused Moonves, now 69, of assault in 1999 and told CBS about the alleged incident. She later told producer Arnold Kopelson, a CBS board member who died in October, and he responded by dismissing her claims, according to the lawyers’ report.
“She recalls Kopelson responding that the incident had happened a long time ago and was trivial, and said, in effect, ‘we all did that,’” according to the report.
CBC communications even went as far as to draft a resignation letter for Moonves, which he did not sign, in late 2017 — before reports on Moonves’ alleged sexual misconduct became public knowledge.
Moonves’ public downfall began in August 2018 after a New Yorker exposé outlined assault allegations against the media mogul from six women. The Times reported last week that Moonves was particularly concerned about one actress not featured in the New Yorker report and offered her acting jobs in an attempt to keep her quiet. He deleted text messages exchanged with the actress’ former agent and instructed the agent to do the same, according to the Times.
Cover: In this Sept. 19, 2017, file photo, Les Moonves, chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation, poses at the premiere of the new television series "Star Trek: Discovery" in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)