Six more women are accusing CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves of sexual assault and harassment, according to a New Yorker investigation published Sunday—a month after a previous report by the publication outlined accusations of harassment, intimidation, and abuse by another group of six women.
Dozens of other complaints detailed widespread sexual misconduct at the company.
According to the women who first came forward, the abuse dates back to at least the 1980s, including forcible touching and kissing during business dealings, as well as physical intimidation and threats.
The report has since prompted discussion about Moonves stepping down from his position at CBS, and the sexual abuse is being investigated by outside counsel. The board of directors at CBS is reportedly close to reaching a settlement to cut ties with its shareholder National Amusements, and also with Moonves, according to sources close to the situation, CNBC reported. Last week, news reports claimed that Moonves could leave CBS with an exit package of $100 million in company stocks.
The latest reports of sexual misconduct in the New Yorker allege that Moonves forced women to perform oral sex on him, and that he threatened women with physical violence and intimidation. He also exposed himself without consent, according to the report.
Jessica Pallingston, a writer who went on the record told the New Yorker that Moonves forced her to perform oral sex on him when she was his temporary assistant in the ’90s. “It’s completely disgusting,” Pallingston said about the possible $100 million settlement. “He should take all that money and give it to an organization that helps survivors of sexual abuse.”
Another accuser, Phyliss Golden-Gottlieb, a former executive who worked with Moonves in the ’80s at Lorimar-Telepictures said that Moonves forced her to perform oral sex on him, and also threw her against a wall in a separate incident. Golden-Gottlieb didn’t report the assaults until last year but prosecutors declined to press charges because the statute of limitations ran out. “He absolutely ruined my career. He was the head of CBS. No one was going to take me,” she told the New Yorker.
Moonves has acknowledged three encounters, according to the New Yorker, saying they were consensual.
“The appalling accusations in this article are untrue. What is true is that I had consensual relations with three of the women some 25 years ago before I came to CBS. And I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women,” Moonves said in a statement, according to the New Yorker. “In my 40 years of work, I have never before heard of such disturbing accusations. I can only surmise they are surfacing now for the first time, decades later, as part of a concerted effort by others to destroy my name, my reputation, and my career.”
A spokesperson for the Time’s Up movement released a statement last week denouncing the large settlement Moonves is rumored to receive, stating it sends a message to survivors of sexual abuse that powerful men can be accused of sexual abuse, and come out unscathed. “A man accused of rigorously reported allegations of harassment should not be rewarded with a golden parachute,” the statement read.
“Les Moonves walking away with a $100 million settlement sends a message to survivors everywhere that powerful men can act without fear of consequence.”