NEW YORK — As a dozen protesters rallied outside, CBS shareholders wrapped up their annual meeting in less than 30 minutes Tuesday without dealing with the sexual-misconduct investigation of ex-CEO Les Moonves and whether he will get his $120 million golden parachute.
The board members quickly elected a revamped 11-member board and then adjourned, leaving the Moonves mess to the new board to decide by the end of January whether he will get his rich severance package. The board will also have to chart a path for CBS to recover from the scandal.
About a dozen protesters gathered on the street outside the meeting, holding such signs as “CBS don’t reward sexual abuse” and “$120M?! Les doesn’t deserve more.”
“The board of directors has all the information they need to fire him with cause and to deny him the $120 million golden parachute,” said Natalie Green of UltraViolet, an online organization dedicated to fighting sexual assault and sexism in the public and private sectors.
She urged the board to send a message that “they stand with survivors of sexual abuse and they will hold abusers accountable.”
Moonves was ousted in September after The New Yorker published allegations from 12 women who said he subjected them to mistreatment that included forced oral sex, groping and retaliation if they resisted. The network launched an investigation with two outside law firms that is due to be complete by Jan. 31.
The New York Times reported last month on additional accusations of sexual assault against Moonves, and also obtained a draft report on that investigation. It found Moonves committed “multiple acts of serious non-consensual sexual misconduct.”
Citing the report, the Times said he deleted numerous text messages and was “evasive and untruthful at times.” The investigators issued a statement saying their work was still in progress, and a lawyer for Moonves denied any wrongdoing.
Because the investigation is ongoing, there was really no point in discussing the allegations at the shareholders meeting, said Porter Bibb, a former media executive now with the advisory firm Mediatech Capital Partners. He said any mention of Moonves would have put pressure on the board to remark on the severance before the investigation results were in.
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