×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Industry Reacts to Moonves Claims: ‘It Just Rings So True’

Entertainment industry leaders Friday evening began to process the weighty allegations of sexual misconduct by CBS chief Leslie Moonves revealed in the New Yorker.

The magazine on Friday published a story by reporter Ronan Farrow detailing claims by six women against Moonves of sexual misconduct. The alleged incidents spanned several decades, with the earliest of them reported to have taken place in during Moonves’ early days as a television exec at Fox. The revelations arrive as Moonves is in a pitched legal battle with majority shareholder Shari Redstone over a proposed merger with Viacom.

Moonves’ future is now the subject of heightened speculation throughout the industry.

“With Shari gunning for him, there’s just no way he survives this,” one high-ranking executive at a rival network told Variety, adding of the allegations in Farrow’s story, “It just rings so true.”

One CBS exec described the attitude inside the company as news of the allegations broke as “sanguine,” and tied Farrow’s story to the flood of misconduct allegations that have engulfed the entertainment industry since the publication last year of sexual-assault claims against disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein. “It’s a tough day,” the insider said. “This is simply a culture in the entire industry that has been manifesting itself in a certain way for a long time, and now things are changing. It’s a tectonic shift.”

How the Moonves allegations impact Redstone’s attempts to reunite Viacom and CBS, which were previously one company until CBS was spun off as a separate entity more than a decade ago, remains to be seen. Moonves’ resistance to the deal is believed to be driven in part by Redstone’s preference that Viacom CEO Bob Bakish be given a senior role at the combined company.

“The big question is that if he’s booted, does Shari fast-track the merger and then put Bob in place as CEO?” one exec at a rival network told Variety.

Among the claims in the New Yorker story is an accusation by actress and writer Illeana Douglas, who described a meeting with Moonves in which he held her down on a couch and kissed her without her consent. The story also describes a culture at CBS that’s permissive of sexual misconduct, particularly in the CBS News division.

Moonves responded to the allegations in a statement Friday, saying, “Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company. 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. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”

Julie Chen, who hosts “The Talk” and “Big Brother” for CBS, and has been married to Moonves since 2004, also responded Friday to the New Yorker story. “I have known my husband, Leslie Moonves, since the late ‘90s, and I have been married to him for almost 14 years,” Chen wrote in a statement released on Twitter. “Leslie is a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader. He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being. I fully support my husband and stand behind him and his statement.”

More TV

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

  • Bette Midler, Judith Light Join Netflix's

    Bette Midler and Judith Light Join Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' on Netflix

    Bette Midler and Judith Light will guest star on “The Politician,” the first series Ryan Murphy will launch on Netflix after he inked a deal with the streamer last year. Murphy made the announcement at the end of Saturday’s PaleyFest panel for his FX series “Pose,” and noted that Midler and Light will both appear [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Billy Porter, Indya MooreFX's

    Patti LuPone Joins FX's 'Pose' as Season 2 Jumps to 1990

    “Pose” co-creator Ryan Murphy revealed that Broadway legend Patti LuPone will guest star on the upcoming second season of the FX drama, and that the series will jump ahead to 1990. Murphy made the announcement while moderating the “Pose” panel at PaleyFest on Saturday, telling lead actress MJ Rodriguez that she will share many scenes [...]

  • The Good Doctor

    Series Mania: Freddie Highmore Talks ‘The Good Doctor,’ Arsenal, Norman Bates

    LILLE, France —  God, Freddie Highmore’s good at crying. There’s a scene in “Neverland,” screened at his Series Mania masterclass, where he’s acting opposite Johnny Depp. His mother has just died. Highmore sits on a park bench, clutching a notebook, which she helped as tears well in his eyes, and he tries to keep in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content