CBS and its former president, Leslie Moonves, will pay $30.5m as part of an agreement with the New York attorney general’s office, which says the network’s executives conspired with a Los Angeles police captain to conceal sexual assault allegations against Moonves.

Under the deal announced Wednesday by the attorney general, Letitia James, the broadcast giant is required to pay $22m to shareholders and another $6m for sexual harassment and assault programs.

Moonves will have to pay $2.5m, all of which will benefit stockholders who the attorney general said were initially kept in the dark about the allegations.

At least one of those executives, one of the few privy to an internal investigation, sold millions of dollars of stock before the allegations against Moonves became public, which the attorney general’s office said amounted to insider trading.

“As a publicly traded company, CBS failed its most basic duty to be honest and transparent with the public and investors. After trying to bury the truth to protect their fortunes, today CBS and Leslie Moonves are paying millions of dollars for their wrongdoing,” James said in a statement, calling attempts to mislead investors “reprehensible”.

A spokesperson for Paramount Global, which owns CBS, said it was “pleased to resolve this matter … without any admission of liability or wrongdoing”, adding that the “matter involved alleged misconduct by CBS’s former CEO, who was terminated for cause in 2018, and does not relate in any way to the current company”.

An attorney representing CBS and Moonves did not immediately return a request for comment.

Moonves resigned from CBS in September 2018, amid complaints from multiple women about alleged sexual misconduct. Some accusers claimed that Moonves had forced them to perform oral sex.

Moonves acknowledged having relations with three of the women, but said they were consensual. He denied attacking anyone, saying in a statement at the time that, “Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me.”

The Los Angeles County district attorney declined to file criminal charges against Moonves in 2018.

In a document outlining the findings of its investigation, the attorney general’s office detailed an alleged scheme by an unnamed LA police captain to try to cover up the allegations against Moonves.

According to the document, the police captain tipped off CBS that a woman had lodged a complaint against Moonves.

In November 2017, the woman told police that she had been sexually assaulted by Moonves in the 1980s, before he was employed by CBS in 1995, according to the attorney general’s report. She also said she was subjected to sexual misconduct and retaliation in the workplace.

Several hours after she made her police report, which was marked “confidential” in three places, the captain alerted CBS and met personally with Moonves and another CBS executive, according to the attorney general’s office. The captain, the report alleges, instructed the police officers investigating the complaint to “admonish” the woman not to go to the media with her allegations.

When the allegations ultimately became public anyway and Moonves resigned, the captain sent a note to a CBS contact saying, “We worked so hard to try to avoid this day.”

The attorney general’s office said it uncovered text messages between the police captain, CBS executives and Moonves that showed efforts to prevent the complaint from becoming public.

The LAPD said Wednesday it was conducting an investigation into the conduct of the captain and was cooperating with New York officials.

“What is most appalling is the alleged breach of trust of a victim of sexual assault, who is among the most vulnerable, by a member of the LAPD. This erodes the public trust and is not reflective of our values as an organization,” Chief Michel Moore said.

CBS is also required under the deal with the attorney general’s office to reform its human resources practices around sexual harassment.

The NY attorney general’s office identified CBS’s senior executive vice president and chief communication officer, Gil Schwartz, as the executive who sold nearly $8.9m in stocks. Schwartz died in 2020.

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