Entertainment News

CBS chief axed over sex scandal fights for $120 million severance

AFP-JIJI

CBS’s former CEO, Leslie Moonves, fired over sexual abuse allegations, is taking the television network to arbitration to try to get $120 million in severance it refused to pay him.

CBS and Moonves had agreed in September when he was fired that he had the option to go to arbitration to settle any differences over his severance, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Following an independent investigation, CBS’s board of directors said in December they had “determined that there are grounds to terminate (Moonves) for cause.”

The board cited Moonves’s “willful and material misfeasance,” “breach of his employment contract” and “willful failure to cooperate fully” with the investigation, meaning he would “not receive any severance payment” from CBS.

Under his contract, Moonves was entitled to a $120 million severance package unless he was terminated for cause.

He was accused by 12 women of sexual harassment and assault in two New Yorker magazine articles published in July and September.

Since joining CBS in 1995, Moonves transformed the corporation into the most-watched television network in the country and one of the media industry’s best-performing businesses.

A one-time actor, he was promoted to president and CEO of CBS Television in 1998, and became chairman in 2003.