Les Moonves Negotiating Exit From CBS

CBS Corp. and Shari Redstone near settlement of legal dispute, discuss exit for CEO Les Moonves

The talks have been going on for some time but have yet to reach a conclusion given continued back-and-forth about his exit package, the sources said.

During the company's August earning call, Moonves did not address the allegations and none of the Wall Street analysts on the call asked about it either. (After all, he wouldn't have to leave if it weren't for that pesky Ronan Farrow!) An agreement supposedly entitles him to as much as $180 million in severance and "a production deal" (guessing sob story rights?) if the board chose to dismiss him for, like, no good reason.

In a statement published after the New Yorker story, Moonves acknowledged "that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances".

This week CBS's board announced it has appointed two legal firms to look into the allegations brought against Moonves. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely.

Time's Up, the advocacy organization that sprang from revelations about sexual assault and harassment in the entertainment industry, is urging CBS board members not to provide Leslie Moonves with a hefty severance package amid reports of the CEO's looming departure from the company. Plus, Moonves swore that he never misused his position "to harm or hinder anyone's career", and isn't that pinky-swear promise enough to merit an additional $80 million?

Moonves, who orchestrated CBS's revival into a ratings victor, is one of the most powerful American men implicated in the #MeToo era that ignited almost a year ago with the career implosion of Harvey Weinstein. CBS, led by Moonves, has opposed the move.

CBS shares have dropped 10% this year. Since then, dozens of other women have come forward with similar claims and CBS has launched an internal investigation.

The US television giant has been the focus of an ongoing legal battle between the Redstone family and the board, chaired by Moonves. CBS didn't return a request for comment.



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