Les Moonves Most Likely Will Get No Severance, CBS Board Members Say (Report)

New York Times story also says Moonves was trying to get an accuser a job at CBS in exchange for her silence

les moonves cbs
Getty Images

Recently ousted CBS chief Les Moonves will most likely get no severance pay, no matter the results of the investigation the corporation has launched since accusations of sexual misconduct were posed against the longtime CEO by multiple women, according to a story published Thursday by The New York Times.

“Whatever the outcome of CBS’s continuing investigations, board members said that it’s all but certain that the company will pay Mr. Moonves nothing,” read the final line of the piece, titled “Why the CBS Board Turned Against Moonves.”

Time’s Up is currently calling on the CBS board of directors to donate the $120 million it’s holding for a potential severance package for  Moonves to organizations that address sexual harassment and workplace safety. Moonves resigned late Sunday from CBS, following a second wave of sexual misconduct allegations that came out that morning.

The New York Times’ lengthy story includes interviews with anonymous sources to create a detailed timeline of the CBS board of directors’ six-week deliberation about Moonves.

According to these sources, Moonves was backed by a majority in late July — after the initial accusations came out against him in Part 1 of Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker piece — until the board learned one woman was threatening to go public with her claims and that Moonves was trying to get his accuser a job at CBS in exchange for her silence.

“When the board learned about this, even Mr. Moonves’s staunchest backers were stunned,” the story says. “Their belief in his credibility was shattered given his previous denials of anything untoward, these people said.”

According to the Times, Moonves finally revealed the situation when pressed by lawyers during CBS’s current investigation and was “warned that he was contractually obligated to cooperate fully in any investigation” or “he could be fired for ’cause’ and would forfeit any severance payment.”

“With his own lawyers also present, Mr. Moonves discussed the Los Angeles police complaint, which he’d known about since November,” the story reads. “And he revealed that one of his accusers was threatening to go public. He admitted that he was trying to secure the woman’s silence by finding her work at CBS, according to a director and two others familiar with what Mr. Moonves said. One person said that the woman didn’t explicitly condition her continued silence on a job, although the implication seemed clear.”

Per the Times’ sources, Moonves told the lawyers he had disclosed the the matter to attorney Michael Aiello — along with the fact he knew about a sexual harassment complaint Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb had filed with the Los Angeles police against him — when he was questioned in January.

Aiello denied to the board that Moonves reported either of those incidents to him, and the lawyers who listened to the interview could not find mention in their notes, according to the Times.

Moonves declined to give the Times further comment on the situation beyond his previously released statements, including on the assertion he was trying to get a job for one accuser.

Moonves maintained his innocence in a statement issued late Sunday.

“Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am,” Moonves said, adding that he was “deeply saddened to be leaving the company. I wish nothing but the best for the organization, the newly comprised board of directors and all of its employees.”

Representatives for CBS and Moonves did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the Times story.