ViacomCBS Says CEO Was Investigated Over Sexual Misconduct Claim But Probe "Did Not Support the Allegation"

Bob Bakish

ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish

"An independent review of the alleged incident has concluded," the studio said in a statement regarding the claim made against Bob Bakish.

ViacomCBS says CEO Bob Bakish was investigated for an allegation of misconduct but the probe concluded without action being taken.

“The board takes any allegation of this type seriously. An independent review of the alleged incident has concluded, and the investigation did not support the allegation," ViacomCBS said in a statement sent to The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.

The Information, citing unnamed sources, earlier reported that an allegation of sexual misconduct was made against Bakish. "The review centers on a complaint made this year by an employee of Viacom’s Nickelodeon cable channel. The employee, who is no longer at Viacom, alleged that Bakish touched her inappropriately at Viacom’s holiday party in 2016," The Information reported.

A ViacomCBS spokesperson did not comment further on the claim.

Earlier allegations of sexual misconduct made against CBS CEO Leslie Moonves eventually led to the ouster of the longtime studio head in September 2018. That departure opened the way for Viacom CEO Bakish to run the combined ViacomCBS company.

Significantly, ViacomCBS said its probe of the allegation against Bakish came via an "independent review," as the CBS board in 2018 faced questions of credibility when it hired two New York law firms to investigate the claims against Moonves, which may have been too close to the media giant.

Bakish, like Moonves before him, remained in his CEO post while the probe of the sexual misconduct allegation ran its course.

The ViacomCBS investigation also follows in the wake of the #MeToo movement, after multiple claims were made against Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, opening the floodgates for women, and men, to come forward and share their stories of sexual misconduct, harassment and assault in the workplace.