It's an incredible thing: you can be credibly accused by multiple employees of sexual harassment and assault and still have the hubris to demand an exit package to leave rather than being unceremoniously fired and escorted out the door by security.
Yet that is the privilege that Les Moonves exercised this week before announcing today that he is stepping down as head of CBS. Not coincidentally, today was also the day the Ronan Farrow's latest article, detailing the accusations of six more women, including Moonves forcing oral sex and exposing himself.
As the negotiations continue and shareholders and advocacy groups accuse the board of failing to hold Moonves accountable, new allegations are emerging. Six additional women are now accusing Moonves of sexual harassment or assault in incidents that took place between the nineteen-eighties and the early aughts. They include claims that Moonves forced them to perform oral sex on him, that he exposed himself to them without their consent, and that he used physical violence and intimidation against them. A number of the women also said that Moonves retaliated after they rebuffed him, damaging their careers. Similar frustrations about perceived inaction have prompted another woman to raise a claim of misconduct against Jeff Fager, the executive producer of “60 Minutes,” who previously reported to Moonves as the chairman of CBS News.
In any other industry, if these claims came forward, there would be no negotiating with such a slime bucket. But Moonves stands to make a pretty healthy retirement from this, per Brian Stelter:
The impending shakeup may position CBS for a sale. And the financial stakes are huge. Moonves stands to earn upward of $100 million on his way out, but CBS is expected to try to "claw back" at least some of that compensation if the investigation finds evidence of misconduct.
I guess in a case of he said vs. she said vs. she said vs. she said vs. she said vs. she said vs. she said vs. she said vs. she said vs. she said vs. she said vs. she said vs. she said, it's important to get evidence, lest the assaulter make off with a NINE-FIGURE payout.
UPDATE: Per Ronan Farrow, that pay out looks not so certain.
Karma can be a beautiful thing.