MEDIA

CBS Pledges $20M From Les Moonves' Severance To Combat Sexual Harassment

The network is facing multiple sexual misconduct scandals, including at least a dozen allegations against the ousted CEO.

Scandal-ridden CBS is shelling out $20 million to more than a dozen organizations fighting sexual harassment and assault following the ouster of CEO Les Moonves.

The network announced the recipients on Friday after it had previously pledged $20 million to be taken out of Moonves’ severance package when he left in September. At least a dozen women have accused him of sexual harassment or assault, which he has vehemently denied or tried to paint as consensual in some cases.

While his exit package stands at $120 million, it could be on shaky ground, pending a determination from CBS’ board.

The media corporation said in statement Friday it would disburse the $20 million across 18 groups committed to sparking cultural change and achieving gender equality in the workplace. Those groups include the entertainment and legal defense arms of the Time’s Up initiative, the International Women’s Media Foundation, the National Women’s Law Center and Sundance Institute’s Momentum Program.

CBS said the move is part of its “ongoing commitment to strengthening its own workplace culture.”

The announcement came after a string of damaging revelations arising from the network’s investigation into Moonves and its workplace culture. On Thursday, The New York Times reported that CBS secretly reached a $9.5 million settlement with actress Eliza Dushku over her complaints of sexual harassment by “Bull” actor Michael Weatherly.

And last week, the Times reported that CBS had agreed to pay more than $5 million to a woman who accused Don Hewitt, the late creator of CBS’ news program “60 Minutes,” of sexually assaulting her multiple times.

Ana Oliveira, president and CEO of The New York Women’s Foundation, a group receiving $2.25 million of the funds, said the donation will be used to further its work on the Me Too movement while increasing support for female activists of color.

“We know that the best solutions for problems faced by communities come from leaders within communities,” she said in a statement Friday. “That’s why we are partnering with women’s foundations across the country, to leverage their expertise in helping identify and support regional and local survivor-led organizations for investment.”

CONVERSATIONS