CBS says independent members of its board of directors are investigating personal misconduct claims after reports that the company's chief executive, Les Moonves, is the subject of an upcoming New Yorker story detailing sexual misconduct allegations.
Over the last five years, Moonves has earned more than $320 million in compensation, according to TheWrap's annual executive compensation surveys.
Six women stepped forward. Following the incident, Moonves allegedly threatened the victim. The allegations also included "forcible touching or kissing during business meetings", along with physical intimidation and threats. They claimed these seemed to be routine.
In May, another article he wrote forced the swift resignation of NY state attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who was accused of physically assaulting four women. She didn't want her real name to be used out of fear of retaliation.
Moonves, 68, joined CBS in 1995 from Warner Bros.
"Not long afterward, Jones received a call from Moonves's assistant, who said that she had Moonves on the line. I found it sickening".
As Douglas attempted to turn the focus back to work, Moonves, she said, grabbed her. He asked if she was single, she said. She declined his advance but thanked him for lunch. He pulled up her skirt and thrust against her, she said. "In a millisecond, he's got one arm over me, pinning me", she said. She says he referred her to an attorney named Bill Sobel. "It has stayed with me the rest of my life, that terror". "It wasn't offensive", she recalled. When she tried to leave his office, she discovered the door was locked, she said.
Moonves was previously married to Nancy Wiesenfeld from 1978 to 2004, though the couple began living apart in 2003.
"You're very expensive, I need to know you're worth it", Mr Moonves is accused of saying to her. I will ruin your career.
So he went into the business side and got a job with the producer of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour". No one will hire you.
"It'll just be between you and me".
"I love the way C.A.A. fired me", she said. "I was mediocre", he told CNN in 2006. Redstone wishes to recombine the companies to better compete with Silicon Valley players. Since then, she has never had a TV deal at CBS deal and believes the harassment "derailed any future career I would have had at CBS". Farrow interviewed 30 former and current CBS employees who corroborated the network's complicity, which extended to CBS News and their flagship show 60 Minutes.
Shares of CBS plunged on Friday's news, dropping more than 6 percent in regular trading.
The statement continued: "The timing of this report comes in the midst of the Company's very public legal dispute".
Ronan Farrow, who has investigated President Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and other powerful men in the past year, has been pursuing a story about Moonves and CBS, according to people with knowledge of his work.
"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", he added. "We are seeing vigorous discourse in our country about equality, inclusion and safety in the workplace, and CBS is committed to being part of the solution to those important issues".
CBS Corporation's stock fell 6 per cent - its worst one-day loss in almost seven years - as the reports of the misconduct allegations began to circulate around noon on Friday (local time). Television, where he oversaw the development of hit TV shows "Friends" and "ER".