CBS Entertainment Boss Says Female Execs ‘Dismayed’ by Moonves Accusations: ‘Not Their Experience’

TCA 2018: “They all came to me and said they feel CBS Entertainment to be a nurturing, welcoming environment,” says Kelly Kahl

Last Updated: August 20, 2018 @ 8:55 AM

CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl says women in the upper ranks of the company have approached him “dismayed” by the allegations of sexual misconduct against CEO Les Moonves.

“I’ve had many female colleagues come to me this week who’ve been saddened by what they’ve read about our company,” Kahl told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour on Sunday. “This does not represent their experience at CBS.”

During his executive session, Kahl was asked to answer for the many investigations into alleged sexual misconduct by male executives or showrunners at CBS and recent reports that the company had fostered a work environment plagued by harassment or abuse.

Kahl said 61 percent of the company’s executives at the vice president level or higher are women, and in the days since six women publicly accused Moonves of misconduct, he had not heard complaints about the corporate culture from any of them.

“They all came to me and said they feel, at least CBS Entertainment, to be a nurturing, welcoming environment,” Kahl said. “Almost all of our department heads are women. They feel supported, and that’s what I try to do in my job — help them do their jobs to the best of their ability.”

Kahl deflected reporters’ direct questions about the accusations against Moonves, saying that he could not discuss the situation due to the ongoing investigation. He instead attempted to defend and explain the efforts the entertainment division has already made to support its female employees.

“We have training in place to provide and guarantee, or ensure a safe workplace. This happens yearly or, in fact, several times a year,” he said. “That is to help empower women in our company and in other companies to get farther in the business.”

“Quite frankly, I think our efforts are very good,” said Kahl.

Though he has heard from internal CBS executives, Kahl said he has not personally heard from any of the network’s showrunners or creative talent, but “if they have concerns, I hope that they will come forward and tell us.” Thus far, the accusations have not had a discernible impact on the network’s relationship to outside talent.

“I think we have strong ties to the creative community,” said Kahl. “We are deep into development [for the 2019 season] already, and I can tell you that there is no slowdown of people coming in the door to pitch us shows.”