In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

CBS Fires Disgraced CEO, Denying His $120 Million Severance

CBS cut its losses by firing Leslie Moonves, the former chief executive who has been accused of sexual harassment and assault.

In firing Moonves "for cause," the company will deny him a $120 million severance package. CBS will also distance itself from the accusations that forced him to resign in September.

The disgraced media executive will not go quietly, however, because he said his sexual encounters were consensual. CBS may need some of that money for attorney's fees.

Sex Scandals

Moonves has denied any wrongdoing. Before the scandal hit the press, he was an advocate for Hollywood's "MeToo" movement.

But the New Yorker said dozens of women accused him of sexual harassment or other misconduct. That prompted an internal investigation at CBS, which discovered even more accusers.

In a draft report leaked to the media, Moonves is accused of destroying evidence and seeking to "molify accusers with promises of jobs." Following reports by two law firms, CBS took action.

"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 board said in a statement.

Moonves, Too

Harvey Weinstein still ranks the worst among media moguls gone bad. His name is practically synonymous with "casting couch," only worse. He's facing rape charges.

Lawyers have had their hands in the problem, but times are changing. Nondisclosure agreements, used to silence victims, are losing ground.

Law firms like Covington & Burling, however, are chopping away at the roots of the problem. They investigated the sexual harassment allegations that led to firing Moonves.

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