CBS Board to Discuss Sexual Harassment Allegations Against CEO Les Moonves

Mohd Rasfan  AFP  Getty Images FILE

CBS Corp's (CBS.N) board left Chief Executive Leslie Moonves in his post on Monday as it discussed sexual harassment claims against him and took steps to select an outside counsel to lead an independent investigation into the matter, the company said in a statement.

Looking directly into a camera Chen said, "Some of you may be aware of what's been going on in my life the past few days. I stand by that statement today, tomorrow, forever".

Several women accused Moonves of sexual harassment, including forced touching and kissing during business meetings.

The CBS board said Friday it would investigate the matters and take "appropriate action".

CBS directors are weighing whether chairman and chief executive Leslie Moonves should step aside as the USA television network investigates claims he sexually harassed women, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. When she went to leave, Douglas told Farrow that Moonves momentarily blocked her path.

The board also said on Monday that it would postpone its annual meeting of stockholders, which was scheduled to be held August 10.

She said she fully supports him.

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The New Yorker included a response to the allegations from Moonves who admitted to "kissing" in some of the instances, but denied anything bordering on the definition of "sexual assault".

The board is split between those loyal to Moonves, who has run the company for more than a decade, and Shari Redstone, whose family owns a controlling stake in CBS. The network said there have not been any misconduct claims or settlements against Moonves during his time at CBS.

Moonves acknowledged making mistakes in the past, but said he never misused his position in a statement given to the New Yorker, and later to TIME. The majority of the board has attempted to dilute the Redstones' control of CBS.

CBS shares plunged on news of the company's investigation. Redstone wants to remerge the two corporate entities, while Moonves wants to keep them separate.

Another 30 current and former CBS employees described to The New Yorker a culture of gender discrimination at the network, with men being promoted over women despite allegations of misconduct.

Moonves expressed regret for any behavior that may have made women "uncomfortable", but insisted he had not retaliated to "harm or hinder anyone's career".

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