CBS Denies Les Moonves $120MM Severance, Will Terminate "For Cause"

Call him "Less" Moonves.

More than six months after the New Yorker's Ronan Farrow - one of the journalists who led coverage of the Harvey Weinstein abuse and assault allegations - published an expose detailing allegations from some half-dozen accusers, former CBS Chairman and CEO Les Moonves was fired Monday evening following the conclusion of a months-long internal probe. Furthermore, CBS's board said in a statement that Moonves was being terminated "for cause", and that he wouldn't receive a $120 million severance package.


In a statement released by the company, it concluded that there was indeed merit to claims that Moonves "forced [his accusers] to perform oral sex on him, that he exposed himself to them without their consent, and that he used physical violence and intimidation against them" as Farrow recounted in his New Yorker story. CBS's board also accused Moonves of deliberately misleading them about his conduct, mirroring allegations published in the New York Times earlier this month.

"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," the board said on Monday."

Read the full statement below:

That CBS would deny Moonves his severance was widely expected, according to several Wall Street analysts cited by the Hollywood reporter. Investigators brought on by CBS interviewed some 300 people during the course of their probe into Moonves's conduct. After more tales of Moonves's abuse surfaced last month, CBS came under pressure to wrap up the probe before its self-imposed Jan. 31 deadline.

CBS said that it has taken steps to tighten its oversight of employees and stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace, including hiring a Chief People Officer, who is in charge of revamping the company's human resources department.

Moonves, who has a net worth of around $700 million, is easily the richest and most powerful entertainment industry figure to be felled by the #MeToo movement (yes, bigger than Weinstein). When Moonves stepped down in September, he signed an agreement with CBS saying he'd only get the $120 million if he was cleared of wrongdoing by an investigation. CBS said at the time that it was earmarking $20 million to donate to a variety of organizations dedicated to stamping out sexual harassment.