Les Moonves Asks USC Media Center to ‘Temporarily’ Stop Using His Name (Exclusive)

The Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves and CBS Media Center was named in 2015 after the made a gift to USC Annenberg

Last Updated: August 1, 2018 @ 12:25 PM

Les Moonves and wife Julie Chen have asked USC Annenberg’s Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves and CBS Media Center to “temporarily suspend” use of their names until CBS concludes its investigation into sexual harassment accusations against Moonves.

“The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s media center was named in 2015 following a pledged gift from CBS, Julie Chen, one of the school’s most distinguished alumni, and her husband, Leslie Moonves,” Emily Cavalcanti, associate dean for communication and marketing at Annenberg, told TheWrap in a statement. “In recognition of the sensitivities surrounding recent allegations against Mr. Moonves, he and Ms. Chen have requested that USC Annenberg temporarily suspend use of the media center’s name until the investigation concludes.”

A rep for Moonves did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The move comes as the New York Times reports that hundreds of the school’s faculty are exerting pressure on the school’s board of trustees calling for USC’s president, C.L. Max Nikias, to step down following a number of accusations of sexual misconduct that have taken place at the school.

Also on Wednesday, Moonves was suspended from his position on the Board of Councilors at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

“The USC School of Cinematic Arts has suspended Les Moonves from its Board of Councilors,” the school said in a statement. “The School takes the recent allegations very seriously and will discuss further action when the Board convenes in October.”

The 20,000-square-foot, two-story media center at Annenberg was formally named the “Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves and CBS Media Center,” in 2015, thanks to a joint gift from the couple to USC Annenberg.

Nikias said at the time: “This generous gift from Julie Chen and Les Moonves prepares today’s communication and journalism students for the world of tomorrow by mastering cross-discipline technology in a real-world setting.”

Chen, who married Moonves in 2004, is a USC Annenberg graduate with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and English. She currently host the CBS shows “The Talk” and “Big Brother.”

Six women accused Moonves of sexual misconduct in a New Yorker story by Ronan Farrow published Friday. On Monday, CBS said in a statement that its board was “in the process of selecting outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation.”

Moonves remains on  the job.

In a statement, Moonves said: “Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our Company. I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. 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. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”

On Monday, Moonves’ alma mater Bucknell University removed references to the CBS chief executive from its website.

In December, USC’s School of Cinematic Arts removed director Bryan Singer’s name from its Division of Cinema & Media Studies program after a man named Cesar Sanchez-Guzman filed a lawsuit accusing Singer of raping him on a yacht in 2003, when Sanchez-Guzman was 17. Singer denied the accusation.