In September 2018, twelve women told the New York Times that they had been sexually assaulted or harassed by CBS chief executive Les Moonves. Moonves negotiated his exit from the company shortly thereafter, attempting to secure a $120 million severance payout which was provided for in his contract. But CBS lawyers investigated the allegations against Moonves and found grounds to terminate him for cause and withheld his severance payout based on the alleged harassment, violations of company policies, breach of contract, misfeasance and his failure to fully cooperate with their investigation.
The tensions involved in this case are instructive for all dealing with sexual harassment claims in this era. On the one hand, Moonves should certainly be held accountable for his alleged bad acts if proven true. But on the other, in establishing these bad acts, CBS must acknowledge that the network apparently allowed such conduct to take place for years - which may expose their own lack of vigilance. In this light, should CBS prevail and be allowed to keep all or much of the 120 million, would such an outcome be something of a pyrrhic victory for the network? #pursuitoftruthcosts, #plentyofblametogoaround