CBS Denies Former CEO Les Moonves $120 Million Severance Pay

CBS said it would fire Leslie Moonves for cause and, as a result, he will not receive his $120 million severance package. (Credit: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
CBS said it would fire Leslie Moonves for cause and, as a result, he will not receive his $120 million severance package. (Credit: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

The CBS Corporation, battered by scandal and facing a leadership vacuum, said its former chief executive, Leslie Moonves, misled the company about multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and tried to hide evidence as he made a frenzied attempt to save his legacy and reap a lucrative severance. As a result, the company said Mr. Moonves would not receive his $120 million exit payout.

“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,” the CBS board said in a statement on Monday.

The board, which met over several days last week, decided on Monday afternoon after reviewing information gathered by lawyers hired by the company to investigate claims against Mr. Moonves, who was forced out in September, as well as the broader workplace culture at the network.

Mr. Moonves “engaged in multiple acts of serious nonconsensual sexual misconduct in and outside of the workplace, both before and after he came to CBS in 1995,” according to a late November draft of the investigators’ report reviewed by The New York Times.

The lawyers had gathered ample evidence showing Mr. Moonves had violated CBS policies, including lying to investigators and deleting texts that revealed his attempts to silence an accuser. Mr. Moonves has denied all the allegations and said any sexual acts he engaged in were consensual.

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SOURCE: Edmund Lee and Rachel Abrams
The New York Times