News, Culture & Society

Les Moonves will receive NONE of his $120 MILLION payout after sexual misconduct scandal

Les Moonves will not be receiving any severance from CBS.

The disgraced executive was set to walk away with a $120 million golden parachute if an investigation into his allegations of sexual misconduct found that there were not grounds to terminate him for cause.

Moonves would have also received a additional $65 million from vesting of long-term incentive rewards had he received the $120 million as well, but will also not get any of that money. 

That investigation found multiple reasons however according to the network.

In a statement released on Monday, CBS said that Moonves’ ‘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’ justified the board’s decision to oust the president and chairman earlier this year. 

There are few specifics at this time, but it was revealed last week that Moonves had given investigators’ his son Charlie’s iPad instead of his own when asked to hand over the tablet. 

The New York Times also revealed last week that investigators met with Moonves four times and found him to be ‘evasive and untruthful at times and to have deliberately lied about and minimized the extent of his sexual misconduct.’ 

Moonves can still fight the decision through arbitration, and in a statement on Monday his lawyer Andrew Levander said: ‘The conclusions of the CBS board were foreordained and are without merit. Consistent with the pattern of leaks that have permeated this “process,” the press was informed of these baseless conclusions before Mr. Moonves, further damaging his name, reputation, career and legacy.’

No go: Les Moonves will not be receiving a $120 million golden parachute following his exit from CBS (Moonves and wife Julie Chen with son Charlie in 2017)

Breaking it down: That means he will also not be getting an additional $65 million from vesting of long-term incentive rewards (SEC filing above)

Breaking it down: That means he will also not be getting an additional $65 million from vesting of long-term incentive rewards (SEC filing above)

CBS hired two law firms to look into the allegations being made about the 69-year-old executive, who was named president of the company in 1995 and in 2016 also became the chairman.

In the wake of the scandal, hois wife Julie Chen also left her spot as host of the network’s daytime show The Talk while defending her husband.   

Moonves, who is worth an estimated $800 million, took home $69 million in 2017 for his work at the company. 

Moonves stepped down in September after multiple women accused him of either forcing himself on them or being sexually inappropriate.

CBS hired two law firms to investigate Moonves following the allegations and now, a New York Times report has revealed the findings of those firms – as detailed in a draft report.

In the report, investigators found that Moonves ‘received oral sex from at least four CBS employees’.

Investigators noted that the instances were ‘transactional and improper to the extent that there was no hint of any relationship, romance, or reciprocity’.

Though the lawyers were not able to speak directly with all of the women, they determined that ‘such a pattern arguably constitutes willful misfeasance and violation of the company’s sexual harassment policy’.

The lawyers also wrote in their findings that they had received ‘multiple reports about a network employee who was “on call” to perform oral sex’ on Moonves.

Moonves reportedly admitted to receiving oral sex from the woman but claimed it was ‘consensual’. Moonves has denied having any non-consensual sexual relationships.

The disgraced CBS boss’ lawyer said that his client had ‘never put or kept someone on the payroll for the purpose of sex’.

It was also discovered over the course of the investigation that Moonves had destroyed evidence and misled investigators in an attempt to save his reputation and his severance package, according to the Times.

Investigators said they found Moonves to be ‘evasive and untruthful at times and to have deliberately lied about and minimized the extent of his sexual misconduct’.

According to the Times, CBS now has justification to deny Moonves his $120million severance.

But it’s unlikely the company will make a decision any time soon, with the investigation expected to conclude by the end of January.

According to the report, Moonves’ marriage to Julie Chen in 2004 appears to have caused the alleged sexual misconduct to stop.

It is also revealed that in 2017, Gil Schwartz, the longtime head of communications for CBS, drafted a resignation letter for Moonves after learning one of his accusers had spoken with Vanity Fair.

Moonves refused to sign the letter.

The bombshell report comes nearly a week after it was revealed that Moonves lost his job after it was claimed he tried to stop Bobbie Phillips from sharing allegations of sexual misconduct by giving her a role on a CBS series.

According to The New York Times, Bobbie Phillips was trying to break into the industry back in 1995 when she met Moonves at his office to discuss possible work, a fact that both parties and Phillips’ agent acknowledge to be true.

Halfway through that meeting, Phillips claims that Moonves exposed himself and said ‘look how hard you make me’.

That is when he allegedly forced himself into her mouth, stating: ‘Be my girlfriend and I’ll put you on any show.’

Moonves denies ever forcing Phillips to perform oral sex, but does not deny that the sex act took place.

The two were interrupted halfway through when Moonves received a phone call, at which point Phillips said she fled from the office.

‘I felt my blood rushing in my body,’ said Phillips.

‘I was vibrating. I can still feel it.’

Moonves began to worry about the incident approximately a year ago according to Phillips’ agent Marv Dauer.

‘If Bobbie talks, I’m, finished,’ he allegedly wrote in a text to Dauer.

Dauer is upfront about the fact that he used his knowledge of the Phillips scandal to try and get work for her and his other clients on CBS.

Phillips broke down in tears and refused according to Dauer, saying she never wanted to see Moonves again or meet with any of the producers.

Then, a year ago, word got out about a possible piece being written about Moonves past, and the CBS head allegedly grew concerned that Phillips would be the focus.

Once the CBS board learned that Moonves offered Phillips work to stay silent he was booted, and now Phillips has also filed a $15million lawsuit.

In addition to trying to silence her, Phillips is accusing Moonves of defaming her by stating the encounter was consensual.

Moonves ‘reopened these wounds, causing medical injuries and effectively ending her acting career’ said Phillips’ lawyer. 


With regard to Mr. Moonves, 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. Mr. Moonves will not receive any severance payment from the Company.

As a result of their work, the investigators also concluded that harassment and retaliation are not pervasive at CBS. However, the investigators learned of past incidents of improper and unprofessional conduct, and concluded that the Company’s historical policies, practices and structures have not reflected a high institutional priority on preventing harassment and retaliation. The investigation determined that the resources devoted to the Company’s Human Resources function, to training and development, and to diversity and inclusion initiatives have been inadequate, given the size and complexity of CBS’ businesses. Employees also cited past incidents in which HR and the Company did not hold high performers accountable for their conduct and protect employees from retaliation.

The Board, which includes six new members, and the Company’s new management have already begun to take robust steps to improve the working environment for all employees. Among other things, the Company appointed a new Chief People Officer, is actively engaged in ways to enhance and reimagine the Human Resources function, and has retained outside expert advisors to develop other initiatives for promoting a workplace culture of dignity, transparency, respect and inclusion. These efforts will continue to be a high priority for the Board and the Company’s management, and we will continue to work together to communicate with our workforce in that regard.

We would like to thank everyone who cooperated with the investigation and applaud CBS’ employees for remaining focused on their jobs during this very difficult time. We look forward to the people of CBS returning their full attention to the outstanding work that they do every single day.