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CBS CEO Leslie Moonves Avoids Sexual Misconduct Scandal on Earnings Call

Moonves gets zero questions about sexual misconduct accusations made by six women in a New Yorker report last week

CBS skirted the issue of the sexual misconduct accusations plaguing CEO Leslie Moonves during the company’s earnings call with Wall Street investors on Thursday.

Moonves and other CBS executives made no mention of the accusations on the call, and questions were limited to those related to the company’s earnings report “in light of pending litigation and on the advice of counsel.”

Moonves’ appearance on Thursday’s call served as the executive’s first public statements since he was accused of sexual misconduct by six women in a report published by the New Yorker last week.

In the report, four women said Moonves forcibly touched or kissed them during business meetings, and two others said he physically intimidated them or threatened to derail the careers. All six women, including actress and writer Illeana Douglas and writer Janet Jones, said they feared retaliation if they spoke out.

The report, citing dozens of current and former employees, also alleged that Moonves oversaw a company where men were commonly protected from facing consequences for misconduct at the expense of female employees.

In a statement, Moonves admitted to having made “mistakes” throughout his career but denied that he had ever abused or violated women, or used his position at the company to threaten their careers.

CBS’s board of directors announced late Wednesday evening that it had retained two outside law firms to investigate the accusations against Moonves, as well as into the corporate culture “at all levels of CBS.” The board said Moonves would play no role in the investigation, though he would not step down from his position as chief executive.

The board said “it takes these allegations seriously and is committed to acting in the best interest of the Company and all of its shareholders, and is confident that the employees of CBS will continue to perform at a high level as this process unfolds.”