News & Opinion | August 1, 2018 10:00 am

CBS Facing Shaky Future Over Head Leslie Moonves #MeToo Scandal

Media titan accused by six women of sexual assault and harassment.

Leslie Moonves
Leslie Moonves, chief executive officer of CBS Corporation. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Getty Images

There have been big names brought down by sexual misconduct scandals amid the #MeToo movement, but CBS head Leslie Moonves could be potentially the first CEO of a publicly traded media giant to lose his position.

The Eye Network is launching an independent investigation in the wake of a bombshell July 27 New Yorker report in which six women, including actress Illeana Douglas, described a number of incidents over 30 years.

The 68-year-old Moonves is accused of using his power to intimidate women beyond the parameters of professional relationships. He has since acknowledged making advances, but denies that he used his position to damage careers of those who spurned his passes.

“Few in the industry expect Moonves to remain at the helm of the company for much longer — an extraordinary reversal of fortune for a CEO who has long been one of the most powerful figures in the entertainment industry,” writes Variety.

But  it gets worse for CBS, which is in the midst of a big legal battle between dominant shareholder Shari Redstone and a camp led by Moonves over control of the company. The entertainment giant had been struggling even before this scandal as its rivals have been growing through mergers.

One of the big points of contention between Moonves and Redstone has been over the potential to reunite CBS and Viacom, a move the latter prefers.

“The pressure bearing down on Moonves and the threat of CBS being further destabilized by a leadership vacuum — and potential exodus of other top executives — will be a test of Redstone’s ability to help guide the company out of crisis,” writes Variety.

“The turmoil at CBS will determine whether she has the mettle to follow in the mogul footsteps of her father, storied media investor Sumner Redstone.