×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CBS Films Chief Terry Press Breaks Silence on Leslie Moonves Accusations

CBS Films chief Terry Press said she is struggling to reconcile her personal experiences working for Leslie Moonves with a portrait painted in a recent New Yorker article of the network head as a serial harasser of women.

“As is often the case, this kind of story generates as many questions as answers,” Press wrote on her personal Facebook page. “I do not believe that it is my place to question the accounts put forth by the women but I do find myself asking that if we are examining the industry as it existed decades before through the lens of 2018 should we also discuss a path to learning, reconciliation, and forgiveness?”

Moonves is fighting for his professional life after a story broke on Friday that included allegations from six different women. CBS’s board is meeting on Monday to discuss what actions should be taken — it has already launched an investigation into Moonves’ behavior.

In a statement to the New Yorker, Moonves said, “I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected — and abided by the principle — that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career.”

Press has been an outspoken booster of the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, and once threatened to quit the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences if the group behind the Oscars didn’t oust Harvey Weinstein. However, she seemed conflicted about the right course of action, noting that some of the episodes took place decades ago. Moonves has been accused of forcibly kissing women who worked for or with CBS, including the actress Illeana Douglas. But Press seemed to hesitate at putting Moonves’ offenses in the same category as the crimes or misdeeds of other accused media figures.

“To reach a point where we can accept some space between zero accountability and complete destruction, we must first grapple with the issue of equivalency,” Press wrote. “If we paint episodes of vulgar (and deeply regrettable) behavior from 20 years ago with the same brush as serial criminal behavior, we will never move forward and more importantly, we eschew the complicated nuances of context for the easier path of absolutes. Outrage is a valuable commodity… but its usefulness can be diminished by overuse. And understanding and learning from the past is the only way towards a future that reflects real change.”

Moonves is the latest big name to be accused of sexual misconduct. Dustin Hoffman, Matt Lauer, Louis C.K., Russell Simmons, and many others have also allegedly engaged in sexual harassment or, in the case of Simmons, assault.

CBS Films has released “Hell or High Water,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and “Patriots Day.” Under Moonves, CBS’s network has fielded such hits as “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Good Wife.” He is widely respected on Wall Street for his programming acumen. The company’s stock has been bruised by the scandal, falling more than 6% on Friday and dropping another 3% in early morning trading on Monday.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Brett Gelman

    'Stranger Things' Star Brett Gelman Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse'

    Brett Gelman, best known for his scene-stealing roles in “Fleabag,” “Stranger Things” and “Love,” has joined Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of Tom Clancy’s “Without Remorse.” Jamie Bell and Jodie Turner-Smith are also on board. Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known as John Terrence Kelly, a former Navy SEAL who [...]

  • US director Francis Ford Coppola holds

    Francis Ford Coppola Honored With Prestigious Lumiere Prize by Thierry Fremaux, Bong Joon Ho

    Francis Ford Coppola took the stage to claim the Lumière Festival’s lifetime achievement honor, the Lumière Prize, in a stirring celebration that marked the festival’s 10th edition on Friday night in Lyon, France. The four-time Academy Award winner accepted the prize after a series of video tributes, musical performances and testimonials from family, friends and [...]

  • 'Human Capital' Sells to Vertical Entertainment,

    Liev Schreiber, Maya Hawke's 'Human Capital' Sells Rights to DirecTV, Vertical Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vertical Entertainment and DirecTV have jointly acquired the North American distribution rights to “Human Capital,” an official selection of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival from director Marc Meyers. The film stars Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard, and Maya Hawke. The ensemble drama follows numerous interconnected stories surrounding a hit and run, [...]

  • Robert Zemeckis

    Robert Zemeckis in Talks to Direct Live-Action 'Pinocchio' for Disney (EXCLUSIVE)

    Robert Zemeckis is in early talks to direct Disney’s live-action “Pinocchio.” Andrew Miano and Chris Weitz will produce through their company Depth of Field with Weitz penning the script. “Paddington” director Paul King had originally been tapped to direct but had to leave the project for unknown reasons at the beginning of the year. David [...]

  • Taron Egerton Elton John Rocketman Live

    Elton John and Taron Egerton Duet at 'Rocketman' Awards Season Event at the Greek Theatre

    “Rocketman” has officially launched into awards season. Paramount hosted a screening of the film with a live-performance of the score by the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra and a headlining performance by Elton John and the film’s star Taron Egerton. John and Egerton — who is in contention for best actor for his portrayal of the singer [...]

  • Quentin Tarantino (L) and US actor

    Quentin Tarantino Holds Firm, Won't Recut 'Once Upon a Time' for China

    Quentin Tarantino will not recut “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” to placate Chinese censors, Variety has confirmed. The decision likely means that the Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt buddy dramedy and ode to late sixties Tinseltown won’t be making an appearance in China — at least in non-pirated form. Tarantino previously ran afoul of [...]

  • Maleficent Mistress of Evil

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Flying Low With $35 Million Opening

    Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is heading for an opening weekend of about $35 million at 3,790 North American locations — significantly below forecasts, early estimates showed on Friday. The fantasy sequel should still win the domestic weekend box office handily, denying Joaquin Phoenix’s “Joker” a third consecutive victory. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content