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CBS hires two firms to investigate Moonves allegations

By
Sommer Brokaw
CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, who faces allegations of sexual harassment, remains at CBS while the board has hired two firms to investigate the accusations by six women, which surfaced in The New Yorker Friday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, who faces allegations of sexual harassment, remains at CBS while the board has hired two firms to investigate the accusations by six women, which surfaced in The New Yorker Friday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 2 (UPI) -- CBS Corp. has hired two law firms to conduct an independent investigation of board chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves over allegations of sexual harassment.

"The CBS Board of Directors unanimously approved the retention of Covington and Burling and Debevoise and Plimpton to conduct a full investigation of the allegations in recent press reports about Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, CBS News and cultural issues at all levels of CBS," a board of directors statement said.

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Nancy Kestenbaum will lead the Covington and Burling investigation, and Mary Jo White will lead the Debevoise and Plimpton investigation, the statement said. A special committee comprised of board member Bruce S. Gordon, Linda Griego and Robert N. Klieger has also been formed to help with the investigation. Moonves, who has been CBS board chair since 2003, is recused from the investigation.

The Board took no further action, but noted that "it takes these allegations seriously."

RELATED LA police declined to pursue Moonves abuse charges

The investigation comes after six women accused Moonves, 68, of sexual harassment in a story Friday in The New Yorker.

"I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely," Moonves said in a statement to the New Yorker. "But I always understood and respected-and abided by the principle-that 'no' means 'no,' and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone's career."

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Julie Chen, wife of Moonves and host of CBS' Big Brother, has expressed support for her husband.

RELATED CBS takes no action against CEO Moonves, seeks independent probe

"Leslie is a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader," Chen posted on Twitter. "He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being."

Meanwhile, Jeff Fager, the executive producer of 60 Minutes, also faces allegations of making unwanted sexual advances in The New Yorker article. Multiple staff members told CNN they weren't surprised by the claims and they don't see how Fager could remain on the job.

Fager has denied the allegations.

RELATED Justice Dept. aims to tackle sexual harassment in U.S. housing

Many prominent men have faced accusations since the rise of the #MeToo movement last year that encouraged women to speak about experiences of sexual abuse and harassment.

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