×

CBS Board to Meet Monday to Consider Moonves’ Fate, Set Investigation Plans

CBS Corp.’s board of directors will meet Monday to consider the fate of chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves and set the details on the investigation into allegations that Moonves sexually assaulted and threatened women over the years.

The board is expected to meet via teleconference around midday Eastern time. The meeting was already on the board’s schedule because CBS will release its second-quarter earnings on Thursday and is scheduled to hold its annual shareholders meeting on Friday in Pasadena, Calif. on Aug. 10.

The board members are sure to discuss the explosive allegations published last Friday by the New Yorker. It is believed that Moonves will face pressure from some members who have to date backed him to voluntarily take a leave of absence while the investigation is conducted. Sources say board members see that as preferable to the possibility of the board voting to suspend him. The allegations against the longtime chairman-CEO sent CBS’ stock price plummeting 6% on Friday.

Board members are also expected to try to settle on the law firm to be retained to conduct the investigation into the allegations against Moonves and claims in the New Yorker story that CBS management tolerates harassment and abusiveness in the broader culture of CBS, particularly within CBS News. A source familiar with the situation said board members are determined to ensure that the probe goes beyond the allegations against Moonves and into the story’s claims about the culture at CBS.

Given the drama surrounding the company, it’s also possible the board will consider postponing the Aug. 10 annual meeting. That gathering was already delayed from May 18 because of the lawsuit that CBS filed on May 14 against its controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone’s National Amusements Inc. (NAI).

The 14-member CBS board has become deeply divided among the 11 independent members who have staunchly backed Moonves and the three members who represent NAI’s interest, Redstone and attorneys Robert Klieger and David Andelman.

With the support of the 11 independent members, CBS has mounted a long-shot legal bid to dilute Redstone’s voting control over the company. At present NAI controls about 80% of voting shares in CBS. The lawsuit claims Redstone has violated her fiduciary duty to all CBS shareholders by pursuing a plan to reunite CBS with its former parent company, Viacom, which NAI also controls.

The independent board members issued a statement backing Moonves and his management on Friday, before the New Yorker story was published, and pledging to mount an investigation into the claims. The expose by Ronan Farrow detailed accusations that Moonves forced himself on multiple women, including actress Illeana Douglas, and then threatened to hurt their careers after he was rebuffed.

The gravity of the allegations almost certainly will force the board to take some tougher action on Monday. Amid the heightened cultural sensitivity to sexual harassment concerns, it would be hard for the board to justify keeping Moonves in his post while a probe is ongoing.

Moonves and Shari Redstone have become bitter adversaries amid the tussle for control of CBS. On Friday, a rep for Redstone issued a statement calling for a “thorough, open, and transparent investigation” into the allegations. She also bristled at the “malicious insinuation” in some media reports that Redstone played a role in bringing the New Yorker story to light in order to weaken Moonves’ position in the legal case.

More Biz

  • Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018

    Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018 Compensation Soar to $129.4 Million

    Discovery Inc. president-CEO David Zaslav is once again making headlines for an enormous compensation package. Zaslav’s 2018 compensation soared to $129.44 million in 2018, fueled by stock options and grants awarded as the longtime Discovery chief signed a new employment contract last July that takes him through 2023 at the cable programming group. Zaslav received [...]

  • Jonathan Lamy RIAA

    Jonathan Lamy Stepping Down From RIAA

    Jonathan Lamy, the Recording Industry Association of America’s longtime executive VP of communications and marketing, is stepping down from his post after 17 years, he announced today. As he put it in an email to Variety, “I started back in 2002, which means it’s been 17+ years, four different RIAA CEOs, three format changes and [...]

  • Fox Layoffs

    Disney-21st Fox Layoffs: TV Divisions Brace for Deep Cuts

    A second day of layoffs has begun on the Fox lot in the wake of Disney completing its acquisition of 21st Century Fox on Wednesday. Longtime 20th Century Fox Television Distribution president Mark Kaner is among the senior executives who were formally notified with severance details on Friday morning. 21st Century Fox’s international TV sales [...]

  • anthony pellicano

    Hollywood Fixer Anthony Pellicano Released From Federal Prison

    Anthony Pellicano, the Hollywood private eye whose wiretapping case riveted the industry a decade ago, was released from a federal prison on Friday, a prison spokeswoman confirmed. Pellicano was sentenced in 2008 to 15 years, following his conviction on 78 charges of wiretapping, racketeering, conspiracy and wire fraud. He had been in custody since 2003, [...]

  • This image taken from the Twitter

    HBO’s Reaction to Trump’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Campaign

    Everyone wants a piece of the “Game of Thrones” lemon cake. From Bud Light to Red Bull the world of Westeros is open to a lot of brand partnerships, unless you’re using that iconic typeface to push a political agenda. In November of 2018 President Donald Trump unveiled a “Thrones” inspired poster with the words [...]

  • Leaving Neverland HBO

    'Leaving Neverland' Lawsuit Proves to Be a Judicial Hot Potato

    The Michael Jackson estate sued HBO last month for airing the documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which accuses the late King of Pop of serial child sexual abuse. Since then, the case has had a difficult time finding a judge to handle it. Three federal judges have recused themselves in the last week, citing potential financial conflicts [...]

  • Members of the public mourn at

    Guy Oseary’s New Zealand Fundraiser Nears $150,000, Continues Raising Money

    In the wake of the horrific shootings at New Zealand mosques last week that killed some 49 people, Maverick chief Guy Oseary launched a GoFundMe campaign to “support those affected by this tragedy at this very difficult time,” and began it with an $18,000 donation. Boosted by donations from many celebrities — including Amy Schumer, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content