The longtime CBS chief Les Moonves allegedly destroyed evidence and misled investigators as he attempted to protect his reputation and a $120m severance payment, according to a report by CBS lawyers.
The draft report into allegations of sexual misconduct, seen by the New York Times, cites “multiple reports” about a network employee who was “on call” to perform oral sex on Moonves.
“A number of employees were aware of this and believed that the woman was protected from discipline or termination as a result of it,” it cited the report as saying. “Moonves admitted to receiving oral sex from the woman, his subordinate, in his office, but described it as consensual.”
The report was prepared by lawyers the network hired to determine if Moonves violated the terms of his employment agreement.
The 59-page report is to be presented to CBS’s board of directors before the company’s annual meeting next week, it said. It says Moonves could be denied his $120m severance package negotiated after he had to quit in September amid numerous allegations of sexual misbehavior. As part of his contract with CBS he was required to fully cooperate with the network’s investigation.
“Based on the facts developed to date, we believe that the board would have multiple bases upon which to conclude that the company was entitled to terminate Moonves for cause,” the Times quotes the report as saying.
Moonves stepped down following a story by the New Yorker that included a second round of ugly sexual misconduct accusations against the powerful television executive.
He is one of many important figures in entertainment to be felled by sexual misconduct allegations.
Moonves is one of the most successful media executives of his generation, producing hits including ER and Friends. He has helped make CBS the most-watched network in the US thanks to shows including Survivor, CSI and The Big Bang Theory.
He has consistently denied wrongdoing.