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Sexual misconduct allegations against Les Moonves throw future of CBS into unknown




Leslie 'Les' Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Corporation, attends the third day of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 13, 2017 in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Leslie 'Les' Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Corporation, attends the third day of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 13, 2017 in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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CBS is investigating personal misconduct claims after the company's chief executive, Les Moonves, was the subject of a New Yorker story detailing sexual misconduct allegations.

The media company said independent members of its board of directors are "investigating claims that violate the company's clear policies" regarding personal misconduct.

CBS Corp.'s stock fell 6 percent - its worst one-day loss in nearly seven years - as the reports of the misconduct allegations began to circulate around noon Friday, triggering investor concerns Moonves might be forced to step down. The CBS chief has been a towering figure in television for decades, credited with turning around a network that had been mired for years at the bottom ratings.

The New York-based company did not mention Moonves by name but said it issued a statement in response to the New Yorker article, which was published on the magazine's website late Friday. The article was written by Ronan Farrow, who wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning story last year for the same magazine uncovering many of the allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein

The article says six women who had professional dealings with Moonves say he sexually harassed them between the 1980s and late 2000s. Four of the women described forcible touching or kissing during business meetings, it says, while two said that Moonves physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers.

CBS said that once the investigation by its independent board members is completed, the full corporate board will review the findings and "take appropriate action."

How would these allegations impact the CBS / Viacom merger? And the future of corporate governance at CBS?

With files from Associated Press.

Guests:

Joe Flint, LA-based media reporter with the Wall Street Journal who’s been covering the story; he tweets @JBFlint

Brian Steinberg, senior TV editor at Variety based in New York who’s been covering the story; he tweets @bristei

Tuna Amobi, analyst focusing on the media and entertainment industry with the investment research firm CFRA Research based in New York