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Lawyers hired by CBS are about to submit a report to the board of directors concluding that former CEO Leslie Moonves allegedly harassed more women than previously known, dating back more than two decades, The New York Times reported late Tuesday.
Moonves then tried to conceal evidence of his behavior from a team of investigators who were hired to dig for the truth, according to the Times, which said it obtained a copy of the report ahead of its official release to CBS board members.
The investigation was initiated after Moonves stepped down on Sept. 9. The CBS board hired the law firms of Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton to conduct investigations into the former network chairman.
Hanging in the balance is not only what remains of Moonves’ tattered reputation as a leading Hollywood mogul but also a $120 million severance package that CBS has waiting for him, but only if its investigation deems him worthy of receiving it — and it appears increasingly doubtful that he’ll receive the money.
“The report, by lawyers hired by the network, says the company has justification to deny Mr. Moonves his $120 million severance,” the Times reported.
Moonves “engaged in multiple acts of serious nonconsensual sexual misconduct in and outside of the workplace, both before and after he came to CBS in 1995,” the report says, according to the Times.
Those who prepared the report wrote that, when interviewing Moonves, he was “evasive and untruthful at times” and he “deliberately lied about and minimized the extent of his sexual misconduct.”
Investigators said they received “multiple reports” about a network employee who was “on call” to perform oral sex on Moonves, the Times reported.
“A number of employees were aware of this and believed that the woman was protected from discipline or termination as a result of it,” the lawyers wrote in their report. “Moonves admitted to receiving oral sex from the woman, his subordinate, in his office, but described it as consensual.”
CBS declined to comment.
The Times said that the investigators are expected to present the report — which numbers 59 pages thus far but could grow or shrink as it is updated — before CBS holds its annual meeting for shareholders next week.
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