In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed Friday, ViacomCBS said that $120 million that has been held in trust for Moonves since he departed under duress in 2018 would “revert to the company.” The large entertainment conglomerate had previously set aside the cash as part of a potential severance payment to the longtime TV executive. CBS and its sibling Viacom merged in late 2019.
Moonves left his job as chairman and CEO of CBS Corp. in the wake of multiple allegations from women made in two articles published by The New Yorker accusing him of a series of incidents of sexual misconduct. Moonves declined the claims, and entered into arbitration with CBS over compensation he was owed as part of his departure from the company. “The disputes between Mr. Moonves and CBS have now been resolved, and on May 14, 2021, the parties dismissed the arbitration proceeding,” ViacomCBS said in its filing.
The cost of any settlement due Moonves “will be borne” by a CBS contractor, the executive and the company said in a joint statement. “Mr. Moonves has decided to contribute the entire settlement amount to various charities. There will be no further comment regarding this settlement by Mr. Moonves or CBS.”
CBS had placed the large sum in what it called a “grantor trust” that would be paid to Moonves “in the event that the Board determines that the Company is not entitled to terminate Mr. Moonves’s employment for cause, or in the event of a final determination in arbitration that the Company is not entitled to terminate Mr. Moonves’s employment for cause.”
An additional $20 million that would have been earmarked for Moonves’ severance was slated to be distributed to ” one or more charitable organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace,” according to a company statement in 2018. Those groups were designated by Moonves in consultation with CBS.
CBS in late January of 2018 announced it felt there were grounds to dismiss Moonves for cause. But the executive had the right to dispute its determination through an arbitration proceeding which he did in January of 2019. ViacomCBS did not reveal the results of the arbitration proceedings or say what caused them to end.