On Tuesday evening, The New York Times published details of the latest twist in the fate of Les Moonves: The paper had obtained a draft version of the report communicating the findings of CBS’s investigation into its former chief executive. Moonves, facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct stretching over a period of decades, had misled investigators, the report suggested, at times proving “evasive and untruthful” in his interviews with the lawyers hired to investigate him and destroying evidence that would have substantiated some of the accusations against him. It was all part of Moonves’s attempt, the paper summed it up, to preserve not only his reputation, but also the $120 million severance package he stood to receive from CBS. The amount—and, indeed, whether he would get any amount at all—the network had said earlier, would be contingent on the findings of the investigation.
The 59-page report, in its draft version—it will be presented to the members of CBS’s board in advance of the company’s annual meeting next week—is damning. (Moonves, through his lawyer, denies both the allegations of nonconsensual sexual relations and the claims that he misled investigators.) It contains previously unreported allegations of sexual misconduct against Moonves. It suggests that Moonves used CBS’s resources to find work for an actress, Bobbie Phillips, in exchange for her silence about an allegedly nonconsensual encounter she had with him in 1995. It reports that Moonves deleted several of the incriminating texts he exchanged with Phillips’s manager, Marv Dauer, and also that when investigators asked to see Moonves’s iPad, he provided them instead with one belonging to his son.