It doesn’t appear as if Les Moonves, the disgraced former head of CBS, will get that $120 million payout he expected after the Tiffany Network fired him in September.
Moonves is another of the high-powered Hollywood types who expected women to put out on the job, and after years of getting away with what victims allege was criminal sexual assault, he finally lost his job.
And now, The New York Times has divulged, a 21,166-word report says Moonves not only did the terrible things of which he was accused and that cost him his job, but also tried to cover it up so he could keep the $120 million.
Even worse, the report, assembled by lawyers the network commissioned, alleges that he kept women on the payroll for entertainment that had nothing to do with the network’s lame sitcoms.
The lengthy report, according to the Times, says Moonves “destroyed evidence and misled investigators in an attempt to preserve his reputation and save a lucrative severance deal.”
The Times quotes the report’s key conclusion: Moonves “engaged in multiple acts of serious nonconsensual sexual misconduct in and outside of the workplace, both before and after he came to CBS in 1995.”
And, the Times reports, the investigators uncovered “previously undisclosed allegations.”
The report also alleges that Moonves was found to be “evasive and untruthful at times and to have deliberately lied about and minimized the extent of his sexual misconduct.”
Naturally, Moonves’ high-powered attorney told the Times that Moonves “denies having any nonconsensual sexual relation” and “cooperated extensively and fully with investigators.”
The network cashiered the $69 million-per-year executive after multiple reports in the New Yorker detailed his lubricious reign. Multiple women accused him of forcing himself on them.
Moonves was untouchable at the network because of his record of producing hit shows.
As bad as the revelations of Moonves’ conduct were, new ones in the lawyers’ report are even worse.
Multiple witnesses, the Times reported, told the lawyers an employee was “on call” to fellate Moonves. The Times cites the draft report: “A number of employees were aware of this and believed that the woman was protected from discipline or termination as a result of it.”
Moonves admits the oral sex. But his lawyer told the Times that he “never put or kept someone on the payroll for the purpose of sex. He has cooperated extensively and fully with investigators.”
In addition to all the consensual sex Moonves had with employees, the investigators wrote, he “received oral sex from at least 4 CBS employees under circumstances that sound transactional and improper to the extent that there was no hint of any relationship, romance, or reciprocity.”
One question the report doesn’t appear to answer is how the man had time to work while he was having all this sex.
That aside, an even more shocking revelation is the role a deceased CBS board member played in protecting Moonves.
Arnold Kopelson knew about Moonves and did not inform the board. One of Moonves’ victims told Kopelson about the assault. His reply? “She recalls Kopelson responding that the incident had happened a long time ago and was trivial, and said, in effect, ‘we all did that,’” the investigators wrote.
That comports with what the Times reported about the board’s move against Moonves. Kopelson had defended Moonves. “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff,” Kopelson said during a board meeting, the Times reported. “Les is our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.”
Other CBS Mashers
Moonves isn’t the only top exec or personality at the network to get the ax.
The network rid itself of 60 Minutes boss Jeff Fager after he tried to stop a CBS reporter from following up on reporter Ronan Farrow’s allegations against Fager in the first article that zeroed Moonves.
Fager was often drunk at company parties, Farrow reported, and pawed the women under his command.
Another of the long-time titans the network was forced to fire is Charlie Rose. CBS booted him out the door a little more than a year ago.
Eight women told the Washington Post that Rose made “unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.”
Photo: AP Images