CBS Films Chief Terry Press on Leslie Moonves: "Story Generates as Many Questions as Answers"

Leslie Moonves - 2016 Cannes Lions - Getty - H 2018
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Press wrote a statement on her personal Facebook page.

Terry Press, the president of CBS Films, addressed the allegations of sexual harassment against CBS chief Leslie Moonves in a statement posted on her personal Facebook page. 

Press wrote that the allegations against Moonves in Ronan Farrow's New Yorker story were "difficult to reconcile" with the man "who I know today as honorable, compassionate and a big booster of women inside CBS." But Press added that the story "generates as many questions as answers". She wrote that she wasn't questioning the accounts of the women who came forward but wondered, "if we are examining the industry as it existed decades before through the lens of 2018 should we also discuss a path to learning, reconciliation, and forgiveness?"

Press has been vocal in her support for the #MeToo movement shining a spotlight on harassment in Hollywood and society. Last year, Press said she would resign from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences if Harvey Weinstein's membership was not revoked in the wake of a slew of allegations against the disgraced movie mogul including sexual harassment, assault and rape.

Moonves is accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women over the course of several decades as detailed in Farrow's bombshell investigation published in The New Yorker last Friday. Six women came forward with allegations against Moonves, with on-the-record accusers in the story including actress Illeana Douglas, writer Janet Jones, producer Christine Peters and writer Dinah Kirgo. Others also spoke out about the troubling corporate culture at CBS and CBS News.

Press' full statement. 

As a fan of The New Yorker it is difficult to reconcile the portrait put forth in that piece with the man who I know today as honorable, compassionate, and a big booster of women inside CBS. As is often the case, this kind of story generates as many questions as answers. I do not believe that it is my place to question the accounts put forth by the women but I do find myself asking that if we are examining the industry as it existed decades before through the lens of 2018 should we also discuss a path to learning, reconciliation, and forgiveness?

To reach a point where we can accept some space between zero accountability and complete destruction, we must first grapple with the issue of equivalency. If we paint episodes of vulgar (and deeply regrettable) behavior from 20 years ago with the same brush as serial criminal behavior, we will never move forward and more importantly, we eschew the complicated nuances of context for the easier path of absolutes. Outrage is a valuable commodity…but its usefulness can be diminished by overuse. And understanding and learning from the past is the only way towards a future that reflects real change.