NEW YORK (AFP) – United States (US) television network CBS and its former boss Leslie Moonves have reached a USD30.5-million settlement with the New York attorney general’s office over multiple sexual misconduct allegations and insider trading.
“As a result of today’s agreement, CBS is required to pay USD28 million, USD22 million of which will go back to CBS shareholders and USD6 million to strengthening mechanisms for reporting and investigating complaints of sexual harassment and assault,” New York attorney general Letitia James said on Wednesday in a statement.
CBS is owned by Paramount, a mass media and entertainment company.
CBS former chief executive Moonves, who was ousted in September 2018 after accusations of sexual misconduct, must pay USD2.5 million to CBS shareholders.
According to James’s office, “CBS and its senior leadership knew about multiple allegations of sexual assault made against Moonves and intentionally concealed those allegations from regulators, shareholders, and the public for months.”
Separately, it said, “Another senior executive at CBS – one of the few people who knew about the allegations – sold millions of dollars of CBS stock in the weeks before the allegations became public.”
A total of 12 women accused Moonves of sexual harassment and assault in two sweeping articles published in July and September 2018 in The New Yorker magazine.
James said a Los Angeles police captain informed a CBS executive as early as November 2017 that a complaint had been filed by a victim against Leslie Moonves. The information was then allegedly shared with other executives at the network.
In a statement to US media, Paramount said it was “pleased” that the matter was resolved with no admission of wrongdoing.
“The matter involved alleged misconduct by CBS’s former CEO, who was terminated for cause in 2018, and does not relate in any way to the current company,” the company was quoted as saying.