Why CBS’s Board Ultimately Turned on Leslie Moonves

After initial harassment allegations surfaced, some board members defended Moonves.

Leslie Moonves
Leslie Moonves, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation, attends the Cannes Lions 2016 on June 23, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)
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After sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against CBS’s chairman and chief executive Leslie Moonves in late July, the board of directors met to determine his fate.

Some directors, led by CBS’s controlling shareholder Shari Redstone, pushed to oust Moonves. But the TV heavyweight, who was accused of harassment and assault, had been lobbying directors, claiming these claims were hyped or false. And the support for him ran deep, reports The New York Times. 

What the board did not know at this time was that one of Moonves’s accusers was threatening to go public with her claims, and instead of reporting the situation, Moonves was trying to find the woman a job at CBS in order to buy her silence. When the board heard about his plans, writes The Times, even his staunchest backers were stunned, and their belief in his credibility was shattered.

The Times writes that in the end, it was the evidence that Moonves misled his board, even more than the allegations of abuse from multiple women, that turned them against him. On Sunday, the CBS board announced his departure.

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