Following allegations of sexual assault and harassment by multiple women, CBS’ longtime chief executive officer is out. According to an announcement made by the network on Sunday, Les Moonves has resigned from CBS after 15 years as the CEO. Moonves will also be making a $20 million donation to organizations that support the #MeToo movement, which will come directly out of his severance package. However, CBS also said that he will not receive his severance benefits until an independent investigation into these claims has been completed. Meanwhile, Moonves maintains that these are “untrue allegations from decades ago… that are not consistent with who I am,” according to Variety. (Bustle reached out to Moonves’ lawyer for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.)
This news comes after Ronan Farrow’s second exposé about Moonves for the New Yorker. In the first article, which was published in July, six women accused him of harassment and intimidation, and in the second, which was published on Sunday, six additional women came forward. One woman, Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, told Farrow that she’d already filed a police report after Moonves allegedly forced her to perform oral sex on her in the ’80s. Other women have accused Moonves of unwanted kissing or touching, often allegedly threatening their careers if they didn’t do as he asked.
In response, Moonves’ statement to the New Yorker read,
Moonves also claimed this was “part of a concerted effort by others to destroy my name, my reputation, and my career. Anyone who knows me knows that the person described in this article is not me.”
Moonves’ departure is effective immediately, with the network’s COO, Joseph Ianniello, stepping in as interim CEO for now. On Sunday, Moonves released the following full statement to Variety about his resignation:
Earlier that day, the Time’s Up movement also released a statement on the situation in a press release before Moonves’ departure was officially announced. The statement reads, in part:
The Time’s Up statement also called out the board of directors, asking them to “move swiftly and decisively to create a safe work environment for all and rid the company of this toxic culture.” The message continued:
The organization also posted a follow-up tweet, once news broke of Moonves’ donation. Time’s Up’s tweet read, “A $20 million donation is a first step in acknowledging that you have a problem, @CBS. But it is far from a solution. You have $180 million set aside to pay Moonves. Use that money instead to help women. Cleansing the company of this toxic culture demands real systemic change.”
So far, there’s no word on what’s next for Moonves, and CBS’ investigation into the situation is ongoing.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.