The Year of Reckoning at CBS: Sexual Harassment Allegations and Attempts to Cover Them Up

In the past 13 months, CBS has undergone a companywide reckoning in the wake of the #MeToo movement that has stretched from its morning show to its prime-time lineup, its news division to its executive suite. Three powerful men at the company — Leslie Moonves, its chief executive; Charlie Rose, its morning show anchor; and Jeff Fager, the executive producer of “60 Minutes” — have all lost their jobs because of workplace conduct.

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that Eliza Dushku, an actress on its hit show “Bull,” reached a $9.5 million settlement with CBS in January. She claimed she had been written off the series because she confronted Michael Weatherly, the show’s star, about harassing her.

The CBS board is reviewing the findings of an investigation by outside law firms into the allegations against Mr. Moonves and about the company’s wider culture.

Here’s a look at the company’s last 13 months:

Mr. Moonves reigned as one of Hollywood’s most successful and celebrated entertainment executives for decades.

But since the summer, Mr. Moonves has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women. On Thursday, the actress Cybill Shepherd became the latest woman to make an allegation, saying CBS canceled her show “Cybill” in 1998 after she rebuffed Mr. Moonves’s advances. He has denied the allegations against him.

Mr. Moonves was pushed out of his job in September. In a draft report of the investigation, which was reviewed by The Times, the lawyers wrote that Mr. Moonves had tried to cover up that he was looking to give a job to an actress who had made an accusation against him, that he had “received oral sex from at least 4 CBS employees under circumstances that sound transactional” and that he had destroyed evidence and misled investigators.

The draft report also said the company had justification to deny Mr. Moonves his $120 million severance, which it can do if it is determined that he violated his employment agreement.


In July, when The New Yorker published an article in which six women accused Mr. Moonves of sexually inappropriate behavior, a couple of CBS board members were not moved by it.

“We are going to stay in this meeting until midnight if we need to until we get an agreement that we stand 100 percent behind our C.E.O. and there will be no change in his status,” said one board member, William Cohen, a former congressman, senator and defense secretary, The Times reported.

Arnold Kopelson, a producer of the Oscar-winning film “Platoon,” told his fellow board members: “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff. Les is our leader, and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.”

The board did not discipline Mr. Moonves until September. Mr. Kopelson died in October, and the company’s board has since been largely reconstituted.


“60 Minutes,” the Sunday newsmagazine series in its 51st season, is the crown jewel of CBS News.

But the program has a long track record of sexual harassment and misconduct. The Times revealed last week that CBS was still paying a woman who had accused the show’s founder, Don Hewitt, of sexual abuse. CBS pays her an annual stipend of $75,000 a year, and has offered her further payments in exchange for her silence. To date, CBS has paid her more than $5 million. Mr. Hewitt died in 2009.

Jeff Fager, who succeeded Mr. Hewitt as the show’s executive producer, was fired in September after he threatened a CBS News reporter who was looking into whether he had engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior with colleagues. According to the draft report, the investigators said Mr. Fager had been justifiably fired and concluded that he had engaged in inappropriate behavior.


Mr. Rose, a co-anchor of CBS’s morning show as well as a “60 Minutes” correspondent, was fired in November 2017 after several women accused him of sexual misconduct. The Washington Post reported this year on more women who accused Mr. Rose of misconduct.

This week, CBS settled a lawsuit with three women who accused the network — and PBS, which used to broadcast Mr. Rose’s talk show — of not doing enough to stop him from sexually harassing them.

Since Mr. Rose’s firing, viewership for CBS’s morning show has fallen at a faster rate than its two competitors, NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” On Friday, Ryan Kadro, the executive producer of “CBS This Morning,” announced he was departing.