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Multiple employees were aware of CBS top executive Leslie Moonves's abuse of power over women but did nothing, an internal report by investigators states.
Leslie Moonves, a former top executive of United States-based broadcast network, CBS Corp destroyed evidence and misled an internal investigation in a desperate attempt to salvage his reputation and a US$120 million severance package, according to an internal report exposed by the New York Times Tuesday.
Moonves resigned from his position in September in disgrace amid claims of sexual misconduct. The company said he would be paid a US$120 million severance pending an internal investigation. If that probe delving into allegations of harassment failed to provide grounds for his dismissal, he would be granted the funds.
"Based on the facts developed to date, we believe that the board would have multiple bases upon which to conclude that the company was entitled to terminate Moonves for cause," the report said.
Moonves was a major figure at the media company for over 30 years, transforming CBS from a dying radio and TV broadcaster into a successful provider of shows to digital platforms, and incidentally subjecting women to sexual assault and harassment, according to a wave of allegations which Moonves has called "untrue."
What stands out in this as well as in similar cases in which men in positions of power are torn down by their own actions, actions rooted perhaps in a culture that endorses misogyny is the number of bystanders complicit in the abuse, rape, sexual assault, and sexual misconduct.
The Moonves news is like so many of these revelations, showing us that many, many, many people were aware of and complicit in sexual abuse by powerful men. #Metoo has begun to impact the lives of (some) abusers (a little bit).
"A number of employees were aware of this and believed that the woman was protected from discipline or termination as a result of it," according to the report. "Moonves admitted to receiving oral sex from the woman, his subordinate, in his office, but described it as consensual."
One such case involved a 1995 meeting with actress Bobbie Phillips who said Moonves forced her to perform oral sex during a meeting then attempted to work out a deal to help her get work while keeping her from speaking about the incident.
“If Bobbie talks, I’m finished,” he'd told Hollywood talent manager, Marv Dauer, according to the New York Times.