Leslie Moonves, the former chairman and chief executive of CBS,
repeatedly lied to investigators about his behaviour, according
to a draft report by outside lawyers hired by CBS’ board to
look into sexual misconduct allegations against him.
The 21,666-word draft, dated Nov. 27, is filled with new
details about the conduct of Moonves and others at the company.
The lawyers spoke to Moonves four times during the
investigation. A final version of the report is expected to be
presented to CBS’ board next week.
Here are four new revelations in the report, which was reviewed
by The New York Times.
1. Investigators heard that a CBS employee was ‘on
call’ to perform oral sex
The outside lawyers were told by multiple people that CBS had
an employee “who was ‘on call’ to perform oral sex” on Moonves.
According to the draft report: “A number of employees were
aware of this and believed that the woman was protected from
discipline or termination as a result of it.”
The report didn’t identify the employee — and the lawyers
didn’t interview her — but Moonves, in one of his multiple
interviews with the lawyers, “admitted to receiving oral sex
from the woman, his subordinate,” although he described it as
“Mr. Moonves vehemently denies having any nonconsensual sexual
relations,” Andrew J. Levander, Moonves’ lawyer, said Tuesday.
“He never put or kept someone on the payroll for the purpose of
sex. He has cooperated extensively and fully with
2. Moonves received oral sex that appeared
The report found that, in addition to consensual relationships
and affairs, “Moonves received oral sex from at least 4 CBS
employees under circumstances that sound transactional and
improper to the extent that there was no hint of any
relationship, romance, or reciprocity.”
The report said that the lawyers weren’t able to speak with any
of those women, but that “such a pattern arguably constitutes
willful misfeasance and violation of the company’s sexual
3. A board member knew about an alleged
Shortly before he joined CBS’ board in 2007, Oscar-winning
producer Arnold Kopelson was told about an alleged sexual
assault by Moonves.
Dr. Anne Peters told the CBS lawyers that Moonves assaulted her
in 1999. According to the report, she said she warned Kopelson
not to join the board, citing the alleged assault. “She recalls
Kopelson responding that the incident had happened a long time
ago and was trivial, and said, in effect, ‘we all did that,’”
according to the report.
Kopelson, who died in October, became one of Moonves’
staunchest supporters on the board. As the #MeToo movement
gained momentum, Peters and a friend urged Kopelson to publicly
disclose the alleged 1999 assault. The lawyers’ report found
that “there is no evidence that Kopelson, whom we were unable
to interview before he passed away, told anyone on the CBS
Board about the incident, spoke to Moonves about it or
otherwise did anything with the information.”
On the board, Kopelson continued to defend Moonves. “I don’t
care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of
stuff,” Kopelson said in a board meeting this summer. “Les is
our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.”
Peters didn’t respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
4. A secret resignation letter was drafted for
Gil Schwartz, the longtime head of communications at CBS, had
known since late 2017 about some of the sexual assaults that
Moonves had been accused of committing, according to the
report. Schwartz learned about the episode involving Peters in
August, shortly before it became public in a Vanity Fair
article. The report said that after discussing the matter with
Moonves, Schwartz drafted a resignation letter for the chief
executive, but Moonves didn’t sign it. Schwartz didn’t tell the
board, the report said.
It wouldn’t be until the following month that Moonves stepped
down from CBS. Schwartz also left the company in September.