Shari Redstone Denies ‘Malicious Insinuation’ That She Is Behind Accusations Against Les Moonves

“Ms. Redstone hopes that the investigation of these allegations is thorough, open and transparent,” representative says in a statement

shari redstone les moonves viacom cbs national amusements
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Shari Redstone denied the “malicious insinuation” that she is “somehow behind” accusations of misconduct against CBS chief Les Moonves, just after shares of CBS Corp. stock fell nearly 7 percent during intraday trade on Friday.

“The malicious insinuation that Ms. Redstone is somehow behind the allegations of inappropriate personal behavior by Mr. Moonves or today’s reports is false and self-serving,” a representative for the vice-chairwoman of CBS and Viacom, said in a statement to TheWrap Friday. “Ms. Redstone hopes that the investigation of these allegations is thorough, open and transparent.”

In a statement released earlier in the morning, CBS said it was opening an investigation into claims of sexual misconduct, as the New Yorker is expected to release a report accusing Moonves of inappropriate behavior. However, the statement did not identify who at the network has under review.

“All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously. The Independent Directors of CBS have committed to investigating claims that violate the Company’s clear policies in that regard,” the statement read. “Upon the conclusion of that investigation, which involves recently reported allegations that go back several decades, the Board will promptly review the findings and take appropriate action.”

The statement continued: “The timing of this report comes in the midst of the Company’s very public legal dispute. While that litigation process continues, the CBS management team has the full support of the independent board members. Along with that team, we will continue to focus on creating value for our shareowners.”

The New Yorker and journalist Ronan Farrow rocked the entertainment industry last fall after several women accused Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. The report set off a widespread reckoning against sexual misconduct in the workplace, and propelled the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Weinstein was hit with three sexual assault charges in New York earlier this month.

But Farrow himself said Friday that everyone might want to take a breath.

“A quick reminder that I don’t comment on reporting I haven’t published, and if you’re reading about my work from secondary sources you’re often not getting the full or correct story-especially in cases where parties have an interest in downplaying or otherwise spinning,” he tweeted.

The specter of a New Yorker story detailing accusations and a culture of sexual misconduct come at a critical time for the company.

Moonves has led CBS into a battle against Redstone for control of the company. CBS sued Redstone, who owns a controlling 80 percent stake in CBS and Viacom, back in May in an attempt to dilute the power Redstone wields over CBS through her family company National Amusements.

Redstone, for a while, had been trying to convince Moonves and CBS to merge with sister company Viacom. The two sides are expected to meet at a hearing regarding the dispute in October.