The New Yorker is set to publish an investigation into sexual misconduct by CBS’ CEO Leslie Moonves written by reporter Ronan Farrow. Even before the story is up, CBS’ stock dropped sharply and the company’s board promised it would investigate his behavior. From the Hollywood Reporter:
The New Yorker is poised to publish an article by Ronan Farrow that includes allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of embattled CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
A spokesperson for The New Yorker says, “We don’t comment on pieces we haven’t published.” Sources with knowledge of the article say it delves into the broader culture at CBS and will publish later today on the magazine’s website…
The allegations are said in part to involve instances of unwanted kissing and touching that occurred more than 20 years ago, as well as numerous claims that occurred more recently.
Moonves is currently involved in a lawsuit over control of CBS with Shari Redstone. Today the portion of the board which is backing Moonves vowed to take any accusations of misconduct seriously. From CNN:
Moonves is embroiled in a bruising legal battle with CBS vice chair Shari Redstone, whose holding company effectively controls CBS and its sister media company Viacom.
The CBS board is split, with the independent members of the board backing Moonves in his quest for more autonomy from Redstone.
On Friday, in response to the expected Farrow report, the independent directors of the board said they would look into the charges made in the forthcoming article.
“All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously,” the board members said in a statement. “The Independent Directors of CBS have committed to investigating claims that violate the Company’s clear policies in that regard. Upon the conclusion of that investigation, which involves recently reported allegations that go back several decades, the Board will promptly review the findings and take appropriate action.
Even before the Farrow article appeared, CBS’ stock took a hit:
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) July 27, 2018
Of course, it’s possible the details in the Farrow piece won’t be as damaging as some people anticipate, but based on Farrow’s track record I wouldn’t bet on it. Farrow won a Pulitzer prize for his story on Harvey Weinstein. Back in May, Farrow wrote a piece detailing accusations of misconduct by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. That story led to Schneiderman’s resignation.
This CNBC report notes that Moonves has commented on the #MeToo movement at an event last year. “I think it’s important that a company’s culture will not allow for this,” Moonves said.