CBS has a problem of systemic sexism, harassment, and abuse of power. We’ve seen this in evidence through Eliza Dushku’s case against former Bull co-star Michael Weatherly, we saw it through multiple issues regarding Charlie Rose, we saw it through the multiple harassment accusations made against the showrunner of NCIS. And then there was Les Moonves. The man who made CBS a success while bleeding it of diversity, the man who set out to crush Janet Jackson’s career following the Super Bowl mess, and the man who will not receive his $120 million exit payout.
Moonves would have received the obscene amount of money had CBS found the accusations against him lacking. They did not. A statement from the CBS board released on Monday said:
‘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.’
Moonves was removed from his position as CBS Chairman in September following a July article in The New Yorker by Ronan Farrow, where six women alleged that Moonves had harassed and intimidated them. Many more came forward to describe the culture of systemic harassment and abuse at the network across the board. Moonves denied the claims. In November, the New York Times published a piece in which actress Bobbie Phillips alleged that Moonves had sexually assaulted her.
Les Moonves actively made the entertainment industry worse. On top of breeding a harmful work environment that systematically abused and manipulated women, Moonves made television a whiter and more male landscape. It will take years to undo the damage he caused, both in terms of workplace safety and creative evolution. CBS are not out of the woods yet. Look at what happened to Eliza Dushku. A rich man won’t get richer and honestly, that too often feels like the only form of justice we can hope for these days.