CBS Will Not Be Paying Les Moonves A $120 Million Severance

CarlaVanWagoner /

The CBS Corporation has officially ousted their former executive chairman Leslie Moonves, and he won’t be receiving severance pay either.

The embattled CEO was terminated “for cause” after the company completed an investigation into his malfeasances. In other words, while he may have attempted to step down, “Time’s Up” for Moonves.

Les Moonves
CarlaVanWagoner /

Sexual Misconduct Allegations

According to a draft of the investigative report into his behavior, Moonves “engaged in multiple acts of serious nonconsensual sexual misconduct in and outside of the workplace, both before and after he came to CBS in 1995.”

Moonves was also found to have mislead the company when it came to allegations against him. Though he tried to salvage his legacy and claim his $120 million severance, his efforts to do so have failed.

Termination for Cause

“We have determined that there are grounds to terminate for cause, including his willful and material misfeasance, violation of company policies and breach of his employment contract, as well as his willful failure to cooperate fully with the company’s investigation,” said the CBS board in a statement regarding Moonves.

Apparently, Moonves not only lied to investigators, he also tried to delete evidence showing attempts to silence an accuser.

The aforementioned draft report also showed the investigators described him as “evasive and untruthful at times.” It added that he also “deliberately lied about and minimized the extent of his sexual misconduct.”

Potential for Contesting the Ruling

Moonves could theoretically contest the board’s ruling and, through arbitration, attempt to fight for his severance.

“The conclusions of the CBS board were foreordained and are without merit,” said Andrew Levander, an attorney for Mr. Moonves. “Consistent with the pattern of leaks that have permeated this ‘process,’ the press was informed of these baseless conclusions before Mr. Moonves, further damaging his name, reputation, career and legacy.”

Moonves’s legal team could argue that his confidentiality agreement with the company was violated when the internal investigation went public.

Time’s Up

Like Harvey Weinstein, Moonves was a major Hollywood bigwig. He produced countless network television hits over the past 30 years, including Full House, Friends, ER, and C.S.I.

However, in September, Moonves began negotiating an exit from CBS following a bombshell report by The New Yorker. Twelve women had come forward with stories of how he’d sexually harassed and assaulted them.

Time’s Up has since responded to CBS’s announcement, hailing it not as a victory, but as “a long and overdue correction of behavior that has been ignored and covered up for decades.”