CBS' Acting CEO Says Press Reports of Leslie Moonves' Leaked Misconduct Report Are "Troubling"

Joseph Ianniello - Getty - H 2018
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Interim boss Joe Ianniello in an internal memo told staff "we are all anxious to put this chapter behind us."

In a memo issued Thursday to employees, CBS acting CEO Joe Ianniello attempted to rally and steady company morale after a draft report into former CEO Leslie Moonves' alleged workplace misconduct was leaked to the media.

"I wanted to reach out regarding the troubling press reports we’ve all been reading about our company recently," Ianniello told staff in an email obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "It’s frustrating that confidential information from the ongoing investigation made its way to the public before management and the board knew about it — and importantly, before we could communicate with all of you," he added.

The New York Times on Tuesday first reported on an investigation by lawyers hired by CBS into Moonves and allegations that he harassed more women than previously known. The draft report, ordered after Moonves stepped down on Sept. 9, concluded the former CBS topper tried to conceal evidence of his behavior from a team of investigators.

"We in management, as well as our board members, understand that these stories are very disconcerting. At the same time, we should all be proud that we’ve been able to maintain our focus, and continue to perform at a high level, no matter the circumstances," Ianniello said in his memo as he turned the focus away from Moonves' alleged sexual harassment and assaults to the company's corporate culture.

"We will continue to communicate as information comes in. I know we are all anxious to put this chapter behind us. In the meantime, thank you for your commitment to this outstanding company and know we’re all in this together," he added.

The Times obtained a copy of the Moonves investigation report ahead of its official release to CBS board members. The board had hired the law firms of Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton to conduct investigations into the former network chief.

The report about the Hollywood mogul will help determine whether Moonves should receive a $120 million severance package that CBS has waiting for him.