Investigation of Fired CBS CEO Les Moonves Alleges He Had Employee 'On-Call' for Oral Sex: Report
A draft report from a CBS investigation indicates Mooves allegedly engaged in multiple acts of transactional sex, some of which were consensual and some of which weren't
A copy of a draft report by outside lawyers from a CBS investigation into embattled former CEO Les Moonves indicates he allegedly engaged in multiple acts of transactional sex, some of which were consensual and some of which weren’t.
According to the documents, dated Nov. 27 and obtained by The New York Times, 69-year-old Moonves — who was ousted from his role by the broadcast network in mid-September — allegedly had an employee ” ‘on call’ to perform oral sex” whenever he demanded it.
A rep for Moonves and lawyer did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment. CBS declined to comment.
An exact quote from the draft report describing the nature of the relationship, per The Times, reads: “A number of employees were aware of this and believed that the woman was protected from discipline or termination as a result of it.”
Moonves allegedly admitted during the investigation that he received oral sex from the unnamed woman, who was his “subordinate.” Investigators did not speak with her, and Moonves’ lawyer, Andrew J. Levander, insisted the relationship was consensual, according to The Times.
“He never put or kept someone on the payroll for the purpose of sex. He has cooperated extensively and fully with investigators,” the attorney told the outlet.
In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, the investigators, led by strategic communications firm Abernathy MacGregor, said: “No findings have been reported to the Board. The Board has reached no conclusions on this matter. The investigators and the Board are committed to a thorough and fair process. No draft of the investigators’ ongoing work product has been shared with the Board or the Company. Our work is still in progress and there are bound to be many facts and assessments that evolve and change as the work is completed. Anyone who may have disclosed draft information to the New York Times did so without authority and in violation of their obligations.“
In addition to the alleged “on-call” employee, the report claimed the former CEO received oral sex from at least four other women “under circumstances that sound transactional and improper to the extent that there was no hint of any relationship, romance, or reciprocity.”
Again, lawyers were unable to speak to these women but insisted that “such a pattern arguably constitutes willful misfeasance and violation of the company’s sexual harassment policy,” according to The New York Times.
Regarding nonconsensual acts involving Moonves, investigators found that he may have allegedly assaulted a woman named Dr. Anne Peters. The story first went public in Vanity Fair in September.
The physician claimed he tried to kiss her and masturbated in front of her during an appointment in 1999. Peters then allegedly told her friend, Arnold Kopelson, about the incident, hoping it would deter him from joining the board of CBS. But in response, he reportedly explained, “That [it] happened a long time ago and was trivial, and said, in effect, ‘we all did that.’ ”
Kopelson died in October, according to The Times, but in the months beforehand, he was one of Moonves’ biggest advocates on the board. The draft report found he never did anything with the information about the alleged assault, and he said at a meeting over the summer that no number of allegations would “change [his] opinion” of Moonves.
Also revealed in the bombshell 21,666-word draft was that a resignation letter was allegedly written for Moonves a month before CBS formally announced his departure. According to the draft report, the network’s head of communications, Gil Schwartz, allegedly knew about Dr. Peters’ assault claims (and possibly others) in late 2017. Moonves, however, refused to sign the document, and Schwartz said nothing to the board, according to The Times.
The Times said the final version of the report will be presented to the CBS board next week.
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Back in late November, another actress, Bobbie Phillips, added her name to a list of at least a dozen women who have accused Moonves of sexual misconduct.
In a different New York Times report, Phillips claimed 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 claimed 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.”
At the time, Moonves responded to the outlet, “I strongly believe that the sexual encounter with Ms. Phillips more than 20 years ago was consensual.”