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CBS hires law firms to lead Moonves sexual misconduct probe; warring exec departs from outside boards

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Six women accuse CBS’ Les Moonves

New Yorker claims to be sexual misconduct.

The CBS says it has hired two outside law firms to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against network chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves.

Meanwhile, the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts has suspended Moonves of the school, the board of directors and removed his name from the student-led newsroom, Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves of CBS Media Center, which opened in 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Moonves also voluntarily stepped down as a member of Anita Hill’s of the Commission on the Elimination of Sexual Harassment, Promoting Equality in the Workplace, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Despite the allegations of sexual misconduct, Fox Business reported Wednesday that Moonves is still scheduled to speak Thursday during the company’s earnings conference call with Wall Street analysts. It was unclear whether Moonves will address questions about the allegations he faces.

CBS on the edge as CEO Moonves plans to speak about the result, such as sexual misconduct allegations swirl https://t.co/Y6rEWm9H8j

— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) August 2, 2018

CBS said Wednesday that the investigation would be led by Nancy Kestenbaum, of Covington & Burling, and Mary Jo White, of Debevoise & Plimpton.

The researchers will not only focus on the allegations against Moonves, but on “CBS News and cultural problems at all levels of the CBS, the network,” the company said in a statement, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Last week, six women accused Moonves of sexual misconduct in a report published by the New Yorker magazine, and more than two dozen employees of the company, the past and the present, detailed incidents of sexual harassment, discrimination or retaliation at the CBS, the report said.

In response to the story, Moonves, 68, on the condition that a declaration for the New Yorker, saying: “I acknowledge that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances.”

He added, “those were the mistakes, and I regret them a lot. But I have always understood and respected — and abided by the principle — that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never abused my position to harm or hinder someone’s career.”

High-profile attorney Lisa Bloom tweeted late Thursday night that she expected a “wrist-slap outcomes” for Moonves based on the two defense law firms CBS has hired.

“These are the types of that we fight on behalf of harassment victims every day. They attack the victims and defend the perps and corporate nothing,” she said.

As I predicted, CBS hires Big Law defense companies to investigate Moonves. These are the types of that we fight on behalf of harassment victims every day. They attack the victims and defend the perps and corporate inaction.
Look for a wrist slap outcome. https://t.co/gb9p5OUMcj

— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) August 2, 2018

If Moonves, who has been at the helm of the company since 2003, choose to leave CBS, the old executive would reportedly receive a severance package of about $210 million, according to reports.

Fox News’ Elizabeth Zwirz contributed to this report.

Benjamin Brown is a reporter from Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bdbrown473.

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