CBS Names 18-Plus Groups to Split $20 Million Donation to Fight Workplace Harassment

Company announced grant in September amid turmoil over ousted chairman Les Moonves

Last Updated: December 14, 2018 @ 12:29 PM

CBS announced Friday more the more than a dozen organizations receiving a share of its $20 million grant towards fighting sexual harassment in the workplace, one day after it was revealed the network paid Eliza Dushku nearly $10 million to settle a sexual harassment claim.

“These organizations represent different critical approaches to combatting sexual harassment, including efforts to change culture and improve gender equity in the workplace, train and educate employees, and provide victims with services and support,” network said in a statement.

The $20 million grant will be shared among 18 organizations, including the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund and Girls For Gender Equality, a group aiming to end “barriers of segregation and discrimination based on gender, race, and class oppression.”

The grant announcement is part of the network’s “separation agreement with the Company’s former chief executive officer, which states the donation was deducted from any severance benefits that may be due to him.” Former CBS chief Leslie Moonves stepped down in September, after six women accused him of sexual harassment or assault.

CBS had been working with Rally, an issue-driven expert advisory and communications organization, for several months on the disbursement of the $20 million pledge.

The network’s culture has again been called into question this week, after The New York Times broke the news on Thursday of Dushku’s $9.5 million settlement, citing a draft of a report by independent law firms investigating the culture at CBS at the request of the company’s board.

CBS agreed to pay Dushku in January following her complaint that she was written off the drama “Bull” because she confronted series star Michael Weatherly about multiple instances of inappropriate behavior.

“The allegations in Ms. Dushku’s claims are an example that, while we remain committed to a culture defined by a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace, our work is far from done,” the network told TheWrap in statement. “The settlement of these claims reflects the projected amount that Ms. Dushku would have received for the balance of her contract as a series regular, and was determined in a mutually agreed upon mediation process at the time.”

CBS said in its Friday announcement two of the organizations, the Collaborative Fund for Women’s Safety and Dignity (through Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors) and the New York Women’s Foundation, will receive a portion of the grant in order to disburse smaller payouts to additional groups. Both of the organizations will be announcing requests for proposals (RFPs) for groups to apply for their funds, CBS said.

The Producers Guild of America announced on Friday it would use its $2 million donation from CBS to create the “Independent Production Safety Initiative,” which will give free anti-sexual harassment training and legal consultation” to indie film, TV and digital projects. PGA Presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher, in a joint statement shared with TheWrap, said they were “grateful” to CBS for the donation.

“In speaking to a broad cross-section of our membership, it became evident many independent producers felt strongly that their productions would greatly benefit from professional, in-person anti-sexual harassment training.  However, most independent productions lack sufficient financial and institutional resources to gain access to such training,” Berman and Fisher added. “The PGA Foundation’s ‘Independent Production Safety Initiative’ is a groundbreaking new program created to answer that need by providing free training to independent productions. We believe it will make an immediate impact toward improving the professional lives of thousands of workers in our industry.”

Below is a list of all 18 organizations receiving CBS grants:

Catalyst; Collaborative Fund for Women’s Safety and Dignity (Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors); Free the Bid; Freedom Forum Institute – Power Shift Project; Futures Without Violence; Girls for Gender Equity / ‘me too.’ Movement; International Women’s Media Foundation;  National Women’s Law Center; New York Women’s Foundation; Press Forward; Producers Guild of America Foundation; RAINN; STRIVE International; Sundance Institute’s Momentum program; TIME’S UP Entertainment; TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund; Women in Film Los Angeles; Women’s Media Center.