CBS Investigators Interview 150 Employees in Sexual Harassment Probe

Joseph Ianniello - CBS Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of CBS

"Please do not wait for us to contact you. If you have information to share, please contact us," the investigators wrote to network employees.

Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton, the two outside law firms tasked with investigating claims of misconduct at CBS, have already interviewed more than 150 people, according to an email update sent to employees last week and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

Current employees, former employees and other "individuals with information pertinent to our investigation" have spoken to investigators.

The update email, which was headlined "A Message from the Independent Investigators," did not say when the investigation would be concluded.

"Our independent investigation is actively continuing on all fronts," the firms said in the email. "We are reporting our findings directly to the Board, not to management. The Board takes these matters extremely seriously and wants a full picture of any issues at the Company so it can address them. The Board also wants to understand the workplace culture at CBS — both its strengths and its weaknesses."

CBS employees were told by investigators, "Please do not wait for us to contact you. If you have information to share, please contact us."

In an SEC filing at the end of September, CBS revealed that it has been subpoenaed by both the New York County District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Commission on Human Rights relating to the investigation.

Joe Ianniello, acting CEO of CBS, told employees in a memo in mid-September that "there is no reason to wait on reassessing our culture. It’s incumbent on all of us right now to be a part of this opportunity we have in front of us. As we do, we will strengthen our workplace and strive to become pioneers in this area that is so crucial to our success."

The full memo from the investigators is below.

In August, the CBS Board of Directors retained our law firms – Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton – to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and retaliation by senior CBS executives, including then-CEO Leslie Moonves and individuals at CBS News, and to assess the workplace culture at CBS more broadly.

Our independent investigation is actively continuing on all fronts. We are reporting our findings directly to the Board, not to management. The Board takes these matters extremely seriously and wants a full picture of any issues at the Company so it can address them. The Board also wants to understand the workplace culture at CBS – both its strengths and its weaknesses.

We hope that anyone who has anything to share about their experience working at CBS, positive or negative – or with knowledge about any issues of harassment, retaliation or discrimination at CBS – will reach out to us at this email or by telephone. We have already spoken with more than 150 individuals with information pertinent to our investigation, including current and former employees. Please do not wait for us to contact you. If you have information to share, please contact us.

If you would like to come forward anonymously, we can and will take steps to protect your identity. We are also happy to talk with you about any confidentiality concerns you might have. CBS policies prohibit retaliation against anyone for participating in our investigation. The Company and the Board are firmly committed to upholding these policies.

Nancy Kestenbaum and Mary Jo White