Moonves is expected to exit CBS Monday, though whether he will be fired or be allowed to step down remains to be seen. Reports indicate he has been in negotiations for a severance package for the past several days, with some sources saying the amount could near $100 million.
The industry, which was already rocked by the first report in July, reacted with frustration and disgust, asserting that Moonves should not be allowed to receive a payout as part of his departure agreement.
Time’s Up released a statement slamming CBS for a “culture of toxic complicity” at the company, and insisted that it will “accept nothing less than full transparency of the investigation’s findings, a commitment to real change across all levels of CBS management and no reward for Les Moonves.”
Read the full statement below.
“Six more women have made bone-chilling allegations of abuse, harassment and retaliation against Les Moonves. We believe them. These new allegations are in addition to the previous six women who have already bravely spoken out and detailed horrific behavior from Moonves. Nineteen current and former CBS employees have also alleged that former CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager condoned sexual harassment in his division.
These allegations speak to a culture of toxic complicity at CBS, where the safety of women was continuously ignored to protect the careers of powerful men and the corporation. The CBS Board of Directors has an obligation to move swiftly and decisively to create a safe work environment for all and rid the company of this toxic culture.
CBS, as you sit in a room debating next steps to rectify the damage done, remember that the world is watching. We will accept nothing less than full transparency of the investigation’s findings, a commitment to real change across all levels of CBS management and no reward for Les Moonves.”
“As an employee of CBS, I would just like to say that Les Moonves should be fired without getting a f—ing dollar,” wrote “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star Rachel Bloom. “The actions described in this article are those of sexual assault and shame on anyone else in the corporation who knew about his crimes.”
Variety TV critic Caroline Framke pointed out that the article highlighted how Moonves’ alleged actions caused the women on the receiving end to exit the industry. “I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times…abusive men cut women’s careers short. We can never know how much we’ve lost.”
The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof wrote that if the allegations against Moonves are true, “he belonged in jail, not board rooms” and “it’s also horrifying that he may leave CBS with a payout of $100 million. That money should go to organizations that fight sexual assault.”
The Time’s Up organization called Moonves’ potential payout “bulls—.” “Time’s up on powerful men acting with impunity and walking away with $100m and no consequences. @CBS, do better. The world is watching.”
Producer and author Nell Scovell added her own edit to the New Yorker’s headline: “Les Moonves expected to be fired from the company.”
New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum wrote that the new allegations “threw me right back into last November…rage aneurysm and waves of disgust.”