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CBS Chief Resigns After New Sex Abuse Accusations

Leslie Moonves, Chairman and CEO, CBS Corporation, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, May 3, 2017.
CBS Chief Resigns After New Sex Abuse Accusations
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The leader of the American television broadcast network, CBS, has resigned after more women accused him of sexual abuse.

CBS announced the resignation of Leslie Moonves Sunday night. The company said its chief operating officer, Joseph Ianniello, will serve in the position until a permanent replacement is named.

The announcement came after The New Yorker magazine reported on new sex abuse accusations from six women. They accuse Moonves of abuses including forcing them to take part in sexual acts. They also said he acted to harm the careers of women who rejected his reported sexual demands.

The women said the abuse happened in the 1980s and early 2000s. CBS was already investigating Moonves for similar accusations made by six other women.

Moonves had denied the earlier accusations. Sunday, he again denied those and the more recent reports of abuse. In a statement, he said the accusations were untrue and not “consistent with who I am.” He added that he was “deeply saddened” to leave CBS.

In a statement to The New Yorker, Moonves said he had consensual sexual relations with three of the women. He said he had never used his position to hurt the careers of women.

One of the latest accusers, Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, told The New Yorker she reported her experiences with Moonves to Los Angeles police last year. But no action was taken because a statute of limitations had passed.

She said Moonves, while working at a Hollywood production center in the late 1980s, had forced her to perform a sex act. Golden-Gottlieb said she repeatedly rejected other sexual demands from Moonves. She accused him of limiting her progress in the industry, telling the magazine “he absolutely ruined my career.”

Moonves spent 23 years at CBS in several positions and had served as CEO since 2006. The company had continual growth under his leadership. He became one of the highest paid and most powerful leaders in the industry.

The network’s statement did not deal directly with the new accusations. It said the company’s financial settlement with Moonves will be decided after the abuse investigation is finished.

The company also announced that Moonves would donate $20 million to one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace.

In this file photo, Harvey Weinstein attends his arraignment in court, in New York on July 9, 2018.
In this file photo, Harvey Weinstein attends his arraignment in court, in New York on July 9, 2018.

The #MeToo movement began in October 2017, shortly after several women accused American film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse.

Since then, many women and some men have publicly accused powerful people in business, government and entertainment of sexual abuse or unwanted sexual behavior. Many of the accused have either resigned or been removed from their positions.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press and Reuters. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

network n. a group of radio or television stations that usually broadcast the same programs

consistent adj. always behaving or happening in a similar way

consensual adj. agreed to by both people involved

statute of limitations n. a law that states the amount of time that must pass before a crime can no longer be punished or a right can no longer be given

absolutely adj. completely or totally