Les Moonves
By David Shankbone (David Shankbone) [CC BY 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Les Moonves Won’t Get His $120M Severance

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LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) Former CBS CEO Les Moonves, amid allegations of sexual misconduct, will not receive a $120 million severance package, according to his former employer.

Moonves was entitled to the money unless CBS found that there was enough evidence of misconduct to show that he should not receive it. The company hired a team that interviewed as many as 300 people to get to the bottom of the allegations and concluded, after months of investigation, that numerous claims against Moonves had merit, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“With regard to Mr. Moonves, we have determined that there are grounds to terminate for cause, including his willful and material misfeasance, violation of Company policies and breach of his employment contract, as well as his willful failure to cooperate fully with the Company’s investigation. Mr. Moonves will not receive any severance payment from the Company,” the CBS board said in a statement.

Moonves’s downfall began in late July when Ronan Farrow published an article in The New Yorker that included a half-dozen accusers. That was followed by more accusations capped by an article in the New York Times that detailed an alleged incident between Moonves and actress Bobbie Phillips involving forced oral sex.

Moonves has since been an unpaid adviser for CBS that included an office and was set to last until September 2020, according to THR. CBS has not yet addressed if that agreement will be terminated.

CBS’ full statement:

With regard to Mr. Moonves, we have determined that there are grounds to terminate for cause, including his willful and material misfeasance, violation of Company policies and breach of his employment contract, as well as his willful failure to cooperate fully with the Company’s investigation. Mr. Moonves will not receive any severance payment from the Company.

As a result of their work, the investigators also concluded that harassment and retaliation are not pervasive at CBS. However, the investigators learned of past incidents of improper and unprofessional conduct, and concluded that the Company’s historical policies, practices and structures have not reflected a high institutional priority on preventing harassment and retaliation. The investigation determined that the resources devoted to the Company’s Human Resources function, to training and development, and to diversity and inclusion initiatives have been inadequate, given the size and complexity of CBS’ businesses. Employees also cited past incidents in which HR and the Company did not hold high performers accountable for their conduct and protect employees from retaliation.

The Board, which includes six new members, and the Company’s new management have already begun to take robust steps to improve the working environment for all employees. Among other things, the Company appointed a new Chief People Officer, is actively engaged in ways to enhance and reimagine the Human Resources function, and has retained outside expert advisors to develop other initiatives for promoting a workplace culture of dignity, transparency, respect and inclusion. These efforts will continue to be a high priority for the Board and the Company’s management, and we will continue to work together to communicate with our workforce in that regard.


We would like to thank everyone who cooperated with the investigation and applaud CBS’ employees for remaining focused on their jobs during this very difficult time. We look forward to the people of CBS returning their full attention to the outstanding work that they do every single day.

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