CBS reportedly dropped the ball on sexual misconduct allegations against Les Moonves because a bitter fight with its parent company led to years of mistrust


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New details about the events that led up to Les Moonves’ resignation from CBS Corporation emerged on Monday night.

A report from The Wall Street Journal, says Shari Redstone, the president of CBS’ parent company, National Amusements, was asking members of the network’s board of directors about a police inquiry into sexual misconduct allegations against Moonves in January.

According to the report, which cites sources familiar with the discussions, the board brushed off Redstone’s concerns and so did Moonves when Redstone contacted him directly.

Moonves told a portion of the board about a criminal investigation earlier this year, the New Yorker previously reported. But it wasn’t until investigative journalist Ronan Farrow published a bombshell exposé in the New Yorker that CBS leapt into action, hiring two law firms to dig into the allegations. Additional claims of misconduct published on Sunday forced Moonves to rush the exits.

Redstone and Moonves have been locked in a long-playing, public battle over the future of CBS, with Redstone pushing for a new merger between the network and Viacom. Moonves had been fighting it.

A lack of trust between the two sides ultimately hamstrung CBS’ response to the sexual misconduct allegations, The Journal’s Keach Hagey and Joe Flint wrote.

“Some board members were skeptical, believing Ms. Redstone was spreading the rumors,” Hagey and Flint reported.

Industry insiders have speculated that, with Moonves off the scene, a new CBS-Viacom merger would be inevitable. At least one expert said it could happen in 2019.

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