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Since his resignation as CEO of CBS in 2018, Les Moonves has largely disappeared from the public eye. Moonves left CBS after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him, which he denied. The allegations ultimately led to an investigation and his departure from the company.
Despite a recent settlement with the office of the attorney general of New York, Letitia James, over allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination, Moonves has not made any public statements about the allegations or the settlement. It remains unclear what he has been doing since leaving CBS, although some reports suggest that he has been focusing on his philanthropic work and spending time with his family.
Early Life and Education
Les Moonves was born on October 6, 1949, in Brooklyn, New York City, and grew up in Valley Stream, New York. His parents were Josephine and Herman Moonves. His mother worked as a registered nurse.
He attended Valley Stream Central High School before enrolling at Bucknell University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish. Moonves also studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City.
After completing his education, Moonves began his career in the entertainment industry as an actor. He later transitioned into television production and worked for various production companies, including Saul Ilson Productions, 20th Century Fox Television, and Lorimar Television.
At 20th Century Fox Television, Moonves was responsible for first-run syndication and pay/cable programming. He also served as the vice president of movies and mini-series.
Career at CBS
Les Moonves served as the chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation from 2003 to 2018. During his time at the company, he was responsible for overseeing various divisions, including CBS Television Network, CBS Television Studios, CBS News, and Showtime Networks.
Under Moonves’ leadership, CBS became the most-watched network in the United States, with popular shows like “NCIS,” “The Big Bang Theory,” and “Survivor.” He also played a major role in the creation of CBS All Access, which later became Paramount+.
However, Moonves resigned from CBS in 2018 after facing allegations of sexual misconduct. An internal investigation revealed that he had violated company policy and breached his employment contract. Despite his denial of the allegations, he agreed to donate $20 million to support the #MeToo movement.
In 2022, Moonves and CBS reached a $30.5 million settlement with the office of the attorney general of New York, Letitia James, over allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. As part of the settlement, Moonves agreed to pay $5 million to various organizations that support workplace equity and diversity.
Although he left CBS, Moonves continues to be a prominent figure in the media industry. He founded Moon Rise Unlimited, a consulting firm that advises media companies on strategy and content development.
Accusations and CBS Exit
Les Moonves, the former CEO of CBS Corporation, faced accusations of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women. The allegations ranged from unwanted kissing to sexual assault and included claims that he exposed himself without consent and retaliated against women who rejected his advances. Moonves denied the allegations, maintaining that his relationships were consensual.
In September 2018, Moonves was suspended from CBS after six women accused him of sexual misconduct. He resigned from his position as CEO on September 9, 2018, following the publication of additional allegations by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker. Moonves\’ departure from CBS was accompanied by the loss of his $120 million severance package, following an investigation that found he had violated company policy and failed to cooperate with the investigation into the allegations against him.
Julie Chen Moonves, Les Moonves\’ wife, also left “The Talk” in September 2018, citing the need to spend more time with her family. She later revealed that she felt “double-crossed” by the network following her husband’s exit.
In conclusion, Les Moonves\’ accusations of sexual misconduct by multiple women led to his exit from CBS, and the loss of his severance package. His wife, Julie Chen Moonves, also left “The Talk” following the allegations against her husband.
Post CBS Activities
Moon Rise Unlimited
After leaving CBS in 2018, Les Moonves established Moon Rise Unlimited, a media enterprise located in West Hollywood, California. Although the exact nature of the enterprise is not clear, there is speculation that Moonves is preparing for new media projects.
Les Moonves has been involved in philanthropic activities since leaving CBS. He donated $20 million to his alma mater, Bucknell University, to fund a new management school. He has also donated to the Robin Hood Foundation, which fights poverty in New York City.
Since his departure from CBS, Les Moonves has been spending more time with his family. He has been seen attending events with his wife, Julie Chen Moonves, who is a television personality. Chen Moonves recently released a memoir titled “But First, God,” which discusses her departure from “The Talk” in 2018 and her relationship with God.
Les Moonves has been dealing with legal issues related to his departure from CBS. He has denied allegations of sexual misconduct and has been fighting to keep his $120 million severance package. The matter is still ongoing, and it is unclear how it will be resolved.
In summary, Les Moonves has kept a relatively low profile since leaving CBS. He has been involved in philanthropic activities, spending time with his family, and dealing with legal issues. It is uncertain what his next move will be in the media industry.