It looks like people will be C-ing a whole lot less of Les Moonves’s alleged power-tripping BS around CBS (that pun was clunky, but I regret nothing). At the surprise of maybe only Julie Chen, wannabe Janet Jackson destroyer Les Moonves has stepped down as chief executive of the CBS Corporation after even more assault and harassment allegations surfaced.
Back in July, Ronan Farrow published an exposé in The New Yorker on Les, in which six women, including actress Illeana Douglas, accused him of workplace sexual harassment and assault. Last week it was reported that CBS was working on a way to let Les go, while also sending him off with a $100 million severance package. Yesterday Ronan published a follow-up to his original piece. Six new women have come forward with allegations against Les Moonves. Their stories range from the mid-80’s to the early-aughts, and included allegations of forced oral sex, exposing himself to them without their consent, and suing physical violence and intimidation tactics against them.
Not very long after, CBS announced that Les is out and will be replaced by CBS COO Joseph Ianniello. Six new independent board members have also been introduced. Board member Bruce Gordon said of Les’s exit:
“We thank Les for his 24 years of service. Among his achievements, he established a strong management team, giving us great confidence as we accelerate our succession plans and provide continuity of leadership…I welcome the new directors, who bring superb expertise, competence and diversity of perspective.”
I’m assuming CBS realized that sending their CEO away with a hundred million dollars right after his number of accusers doubled from six to twelve might not be the best look for a company. After CBS announced Les’s exit, they declared that $20 million would be donated to “one or more” organizations dedicated to the support of equality for women in the workplace and the #MeToo movement. The donation would be made immediately, and would be taken out of any severance package Les might receive.
But that’s not to say that CBS isn’t also planning on dumping several millions into Les’s retirement fund. According to sources that spoke with The New York Times say that Les could walk away with a $120 million severance package. That’s $20 million more than what was originally assumed, and that’s not even counting the $20 million charity deduction. Where do I go about applying for a job as a CEO that gets caught breaking every basic HR rule? Because getting $120 million to vanish and take my bad publicity with me seems like a pretty sweet gig.
This news has got to hurt anyone at CBS who was hoping to ask for a raise after they heard that CBS would no longer be forking out millions to the cast of The Big Bang Theory. There was a very short window of opportunity, but it’s closed. Sorry CBS employees, but something tells me your corporate holiday party is about to become a sandwiches-and-cans of soda affair. On the upside, you’ll be able to play Janet Jackson music again.