U.S. NEWS

USC Distances Itself From Les Moonves After Sexual Assault Allegations

USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism also temporarily suspended the name of its Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves CBS Media Center.

The University of Southern California kicked CBS executive Les Moonves off its cinema school’s advisory body and removed his name from a media center in light of several sexual assault allegations against him.

Moonves has lost his seat on the USC School of Cinematic Arts Board of Councilors, an advisory body to the dean, until at least October, according to a university statement Wednesday.

“The School takes the recent allegations very seriously and will discuss further action when the Board convenes in October,” USC said.

USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism also temporarily suspended use of the name of its Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves CBS Media Center.

“In recognition of the sensitivities surrounding recent allegations against Mr. Moonves, he and Ms. Chen have requested that USC Annenberg temporarily suspend use of the media center’s name until the investigation concludes,” a USC spokesperson said.

The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s newsroom has been named the Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves CBS Media Center since its 2015 opening. Chen, who is married to Moonves, graduated from Annenberg in 1991, and she and her husband had pledged a gift to the school.

A New Yorker article on Friday detailed six women’s allegations against the powerful media executive of unwanted touching and kissing between the 1980s and late 2000s. 

Moonves denied the allegations, telling the outlet he “always understood and respected—and abided by the principle—that ‘no’ means ‘no.’” 

Chen said that she stands by her husband despite the accusations.

Earlier this week, Moonves’ alma mater, Bucknell University, removed all mentions of him from its website. Moonves graduated from Bucknell in 1971 and spoke at the school’s 2016 commencement ceremony.

Bucknell President John Bravman wrote in a note to the university that Bucknell “will not stand for sexual misconduct,” according to a university spokesperson who said the school is evaluating if it will take “any additional actions that may be appropriate.”

CBS said on Friday it would launch an investigation into the allegations via outside counsel. The company’s board of directors decided not to take any immediate disciplinary action against Moonves on Monday.

USC has been facing its own scandal recently. Hundreds of former students have sued the school for allegedly ignoring complaints about a campus gynecologist who abused female patients for decades.

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