Moonves was forced out on Sunday amid a growing list of troubling allegations of sexual misconduct dating back decades. The settlement Moonves reached with CBS on Sunday calls for the results of the investigation to be kept confidential per a non-disparagement agreement between the sides. The investigation will determine whether Moonves is eligible for any of the $120 million in severance funds that have been set aside for the long-serving CBS executive.
Word that CBS would not disclose the results of the investigation angered women’s rights advocates and others who argue that CBS will not move past the Moonves scandal without full transparency.
King articulated that view in her first public comments on Moonves’ departure, made Tuesday on “CBS This Morning” in a conversation with co-anchors John Dickerson and Norah O’Donnell. The investigation is also examining reports of problems within CBS News, including allegations of inappropriate behavior by Jeff Fager, executive producer of “60 Minutes” and former CBS News president.
“I’m sick and sick of the story and sickened the by everything that we keep hearing,” King said. Regarding the plan to keep the report private, she said: “How can we have this investigation and not know how it comes out? Les Moonves has been on the record, he says, listen, he didn’t do these things, that it was consensual, that he hasn’t hurt anybody’s career. I would think it would be in his best interests for us to hear what the report finds out.”
King said noted, as have many others, that the women who have come forward with claims about Moonves have little motivation to fabricate or exaggerate past incidents with Moonves.
“You have women who are coming forward, very credibly talking about something that’s so painful and so humiliating. It’s been my experience that women don’t come out and speak this way for no reason. They just don’t,” King said. “And so I don’t know how we move forward if we don’t — we at CBS – don’t have full transparency about what we find. …. In our own house we must have transparency.”
King also expressed empathy for Moonves’ wife, “The Talk” and “Big Brother” host Julie Chen. And she acknowledged Moonves’ strong business track record as the leader of CBS since 2006.
“I feel for Julie Chen today. She’s in a very difficult position,” King said. “And Les Moonves has done wonderful things for this company, and we can’t forget that either. So, it’s just a bad situation all the way around.”