Former CBS Chief Les Moonves Obstructed Sexual Misconduct Investigation, Report Says
In a bid to save his $120 million severance package, former CBS chief executive Les Moonves allegedly destroyed evidence and obstructed an investigation into his many sexual misconduct allegations.
Lawyers hired by CBS are preparing to file a preliminary report with the company’s board of directors that claims Moonves was “evasive and untruthful” and knowing and “deliberately lied about and minimized the extent of his sexual misconduct,” The New York Times is reporting after obtaining a copy of the CBS report. The investigation was also said to have discovered more sexual misconduct allegations against Moonves aside from those revealed in an explosive report earlier this year.
Moonves was once one of the most powerful executives in the entertainment industry. However, in September, The New Yorker published a story that detailed alleged sexual harassment and assault Moonves committed against 12 women over several decades. Soon after, Moonves resigned from his post and CBS said that it would hire attorneys to investigate the allegations. CBS investigators were also tasked with determining whether he violated his employment agreement with the company.
Despite the allegations, it was soon revealed after his resignation that Moonves could be entitled to a $120 million severance, if his firing was without cause. If the investigators determine that he violated his employment agreement, he would be fired with cause and not receive any of his severance.
According to the report obtained by the Times, Moonves has engaged in a host of activities over the last several months that aim at derailing the investigation into his conduct. In addition to lying to investigators, the report says Moonves deleted text messages and gave investigators his son’s iPad instead of his own. Investigators also found previously unknown instances in which he engaged in sexual activity with employees that they found to be “transactional and improper.”
“Such a pattern arguably constitutes willful misfeasance and violation of the company’s sexual harassment policy,” the report reads, according to the Times.
The investigation into Moonves is currently ongoing and the investigators are expected to present their preliminary findings to the CBS board next week. They have said that they’ll end their investigation by the end of January. At that time, the CBS board will make its determination on whether Moonves violated his employment agreement and should be allowed to receive his severance.
CBS declined a Fortune request for comment on the Times report.
Update at 9:41 a.m. ET to include CBS’ response.