CBS Corporation, a US broadcasting and media company, said it would take "appropriate action" as it was investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against its chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves.
In a statement to Reuters, Moonves admitted that his attempts to "make advances" may have made some women uncomfortable, but claimed to have never misused his status to derail anyone's career.
The claims of personal misconduct surfaced in a report published by The New Yorker on Friday, in which six women who had professional dealings with the media tycoon accused him of sexual harassment in different time periods between the 1980s and 2006. Four of them detailed a "practiced routine" of "forcible touching and kissing" at business meetings; two accused Moonves of physical intimidation or threatening to break their careers.
The allegations sparked outrage in the internet, with many users calling for Moonves' resignation and other calling it just "the tip of the iceberg."
Horrifying Ronan Farrow story in New Yorker about multiple women who accused Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, of sexual assault & retaliation. Also terrible stuff about Jeff Fager, exec producer of 60 minutes. Mad Men stuff. Believable, nauseating, depressing.— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) 28 июля 2018 г.
Correct in calling them "Mad Men." Disgusting behavior.— B.D. Foley (@safetothrive) 28 июля 2018 г.
IF they don't clean up the cesspool, Hollywood and the entertainment business is all but finished. Is this the tip of the iceberg??— domd (@blackdog758) 27 июля 2018 г.
Just another Rich Powerful Bully in a position to intimidate vulnerable women trying to protect their jobs.— CandyCuisine (@CuisineCandy) 28 июля 2018 г.
Just the TIP OF TGE ICEBERG.
The Les Moonves allegations remind us that it's not just the guys who can't keep their hands to themselves.— Kaz Weida (@kazweida) 28 июля 2018 г.
It's the boy's club that protects this toxic culture & drives women out of careers. It's the secrets they ask us to keep, the silence & shame that isn't our burden to bear pic.twitter.com/l3U4oMhASr
These stories are violent, terrifying, and thoroughly reported. This man should not be running a network. https://t.co/IqqvEO4A0m— Adam Conover (@adamconover) 28 июля 2018 г.
Oh thanks, we didn't know people at "the top of their game" or "in positions of power" did this. At least that's settled.— Samantha Jane Geimer (@sjgeimer) 28 июля 2018 г.
We will soon be seeing less of Les.— John Norton (@DCJohnNorton) 27 июля 2018 г.
Leslie Moonves is one of the biggest media moguls in the US. In February 2016, he became Chairman of CBS, one of America's most-watched TV networks. Moonves has been a vocal supporter of Hollywood's #MeToo movement, which brought up numerous cases of sexual harassment and assault in the country's media industry. At a conference in November, he described the campaign as a "watershed moment" for the country.
"I think it's important that a company's culture will not allow for this. And that's the thing that's far-reaching. There's a lot we're learning. There's a lot we didn't know."