Actress Accuses Ousted CBS CEO Les Moonves of 1995 Sexual Assault and Cover Up in New Report
Actress Bobbie Phillips is adding her name to the list of at least a dozen women who have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against former CBS CEO Les Moonves
Actress Bobbie Phillips is adding her name to the list of at least a dozen women who have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against former CBS CEO Les Moonves.
In a new New York Times report published on Wednesday, Phillips claims that she was forced by Moonves to perform oral sex on him during a 1995 meeting in his office. Years later, as investigations into Moonves’ alleged behavior began, the report claims he conspired with her talent manager, Marv Dauer, to keep her quiet by offering her a guest role on one of the network’s new series.
Phillips — who has had television roles on The Watcher, The X-Files, Boy Meets World, and in the film Showgirls — only felt ready to come forward after The New Yorker published its first report about Moonves’ accusers in July, she told the Times.
“The moment I read that there were other women he had victimized, the light bulb went off,” she said. “I realized I had been manipulated beyond words and that his outreach to me was phony, an attempt to silence me. This all caused me incredible pain, both physical and emotional, as I had to grapple with the fact that I had allowed the same monster to victimize me twice, in the 1990s and once again some 20 years later.”
CBS declined comment to PEOPLE and representatives for Moonves did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, but the 69-year-old told the Times, “I strongly believe that the sexual encounter with Ms. Phillips more than 20 years ago was consensual.”
She claimed to The Times that she had met Moonves in March 1995, when she was in her late 20s and he was the president of Warner Bros. Television at the time. While in his office in Burbank, California, she claimed Moonves allegedly exposed his erect penis to her, grabbed her by her neck, pushed her to the ground and forced it into her mouth. “‘Be my girlfriend and I’ll put you on any show,’ ” she recalled him allegedly telling her. He only stopped when he got a phone call, she claimed.
“I felt my blood rushing in my body. I was vibrating. I can still feel it,” Phillips claimed to the Times, adding that she saw a baseball bat leaning on his desk. “All I could think was that I wanted to use the baseball bat to knock his head off.”
Decades later, Dauer told The Times that Moonves had reached out about the sexual misconduct allegations that were allegedly boiling up against him.
“I think I’ll be O.K., But if Bobbie talks, I’m done,” Moonves allegedly wrote Dauer, according to text messages obtained by the Times.
The two allegedly discussed getting Phillips a role to “keep her happy,” the Times reported, with Dauer telling Moonves repeatedly that he had gotten calls from reporters about Moonves’ alleged misconduct but was remaining quiet.
When Dauer contacted Phillips saying that Moonves was interested in working with her, she recalled to the Times that she was open to forgiveness. But when she heard that Moonves had denied sexually assaulting her to Dauer, she said her feelings began to change.
“I did not sleep as I am feeling anger that Moonves is not sorry — and is calling me a liar basically,” Phillips wrote Dauer in a Jan. 6, Facebook message, according to the Times. “He is not allowed to play the victim card here. I did not bring this up as you know. I simply responded that I believe in forgiveness and moving forward in life. But, I will not be made a victim again … I am doing my best to be a positive, forgiving person in my life. None of us are perfect. However, this does not sit well. I will go meditate and try to find my peace.”
Ultimately, Phillips twice turned down an offer for a day’s work as “a big, friendly woman clad in overalls” on CBS’ upcoming series Blood and Treasure, the Times reported. Upon her first refusal, the offer grew from $1,500 a day to $5,000 a day, Dauer claimed.
“I didn’t care about this particular role, and yet top CBS brass suddenly are eager for me to accept it,” Phillips claimed to the Times. “It all seemed so baffling to me.”
Phillips wasn’t baffled for much longer. Days later, the first exposés about Moonves was published. Several others have followed since.
Moonves resigned as CEO of CBS in September, though has continued to claim all sexual encounters between him and his alleged victims were consensual.
“For the past 24 years it has been an incredible privilege to lead CBS’s renaissance and transformation into a leading global media company. The best part of this journey has been working alongside the dedicated and talented people in this company,” Moonves said in a statement to Variety. “Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am.”
A $120 million severance payout is still being negotiated between Moonves and CBS, the Times reports. His offering of a role to Phillips through Dauer in an attempt to silence her allegations — something the Times reported he did not immediately disclose to CBS’ investigators — could be a determining factor in whether CBS has cause to fire him and withhold his money.