CBS said Friday it is investigating sexual misconduct allegations against Les Moonves, the company’s 68-year-old chairman and CEO.
The claims were detailed Friday on the website of The New Yorker magazine in an article written by Ronan Farrow.
Farrow won a Pulitzer Prize last year for an article in the same magazine about the sexual allegations against powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
In his latest article, Farrow said that he interviewed six women who said they had been sexually harassed by Moonves between the 1980s and the late 2000s.
“Four described forcible touching or kissing during business meetings,” he wrote. “Two told me that Moonves physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers.”
All of them, Farrow said, continue to fear “speaking out would lead to retaliation from Moonves, who is known in the industry for his ability to make or break careers.”
Janet Jones, a writer, told Farrow that Moonves “has gotten away with it for decades.” She said she had to push Moonves off of her after he “forcibly kissed” her at a work meeting.
Moonves said in a statement published in The New Yorker: “I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. … I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career…”
Farrow said 30 current and former CBS employees told him that the sexual misconduct allegations at CBS include not only Moonves, but also extend “to important parts of the corporation, including CBS News and 60 Minutes, one of the network’s most esteemed programs.”
Under Moonves, Farrow wrote, “men at CBS News who were accused of sexual misconduct were promoted, even as the company paid settlements to women with complaints.”
Last year, Moonves was one of the founders of Hollywood’s Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, chaired by Anita Hill.
Moonves’ wife, a CBS TV producer and personality, Julie Chen, said on Twitter: