Future of Moonves Is Still Up in the Air H
ere we go again.
One of the media world’s most powerful figures is facing serious accusations of sexual assault.
But, this time, it’s the CEO of a major entertainment company who’s in the crosshairs — a first in the business we cover. Thousands upon thousands of shareholders depend on the stewardship of CBS Corp. honcho Leslie Moonves, who is in danger of losing his job and forever sullying his reputation amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
If the accusations by the six women who came forward in Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker story are found to be true, it could spell the end of an era for one of the most successful business leaders of our time, and have a profound impact on the $19.4 billion company he runs.
Many industry watchers were bracing for the CBS board to take swift action against Moonves July 30 with a possible suspension of the CEO, but that didn’t happen. After an hours-long board meeting the directors simply reiterated the company’s plan to hire outside counsel to independently investigate the sexual assault allegations against him by the women named in the New Yorker exposé. It’s still very unclear at this point what Moonves’ ultimate fate at CBS will be.
Few of us in the entertainment press were shocked by the accusations, which had been rumored for many, many months. It’s also no surprise that it was Farrow — an intrepid investigative reporter — who ultimately landed the story. Farrow helped bring down indie maverick Harvey Weinstein last October.
In an interview with reporter Ramin Setoodeh, Farrow explains what made the alleged harassment and assault incidents so alarming for many of the women he interviewed: “There was a dichotomy there. He had been a public defender of the #Metoo movement.”
When news of Moonves’ allegations surfaced last week, some of his supporters privately argued that they weren’t as egregious as the criminal charges brought against Weinstein. True. But, the one fundamental factor shared by virtually all of the media world’s perpetrators is that there was a pattern of disturbing unethical behavior in the workplace and that these men abused their positions of power.