CBS shares tumble on report of sexual misconduct by CEO Moonves

"Six women who had professional dealings with him told me that, between the nineteen-eighties and the late aughts, Moonves sexually harassed them", Farrow writes.

Interestingly, Chen supposedly has a poor reputation at The Talk, with a New York Post article claiming that Chen has used her husband's name as a means of threatening her co-workers.

But privately, Farrow reported, Moonves had a pattern of sexual harassment and misconduct - and fostered a hostile workplace environment that extended to other parts of the network, including its news division, where men "who were accused of sexual misconduct were promoted, even as the company paid settlements to women in complaints". The article apparently contains allegations of misconduct, including "forcible kissing", in the 1980s and 1990s, according to a person who was aware of the reporting but not allowed to publicly discuss it. Not long after she was given a part in a CBS comedy, Queens, in 1997, Moonves allegedly began asking Douglas sensitive questions about her relationship status during a meeting in his office, before pinning he and "violently" kissing her.

Viacom declined to comment on the claims against Moonves.

He said that he never misused his position to harm or hinder anyone's career.

Earlier on Friday, before the New Yorker article was published, CBS said in a statement that its board would promptly review the findings and take appropriate action.

Moonves is known as one of the best show pickers in Hollywood. He was CEO of Warner Bros TV during the 1990s when the studio created two of the biggest shows in TV history, "Friends" and "ER". CBS has been the most-watched network in the U.S. for most of the past decade, relying on a broad line-up of comedies, procedural shows like "CSI" and live sports to successfully navigate a turbulent era in the media business.

Moonves, who is also a former actor, has surrounded himself with women at the top echelons of his company.

Moonves, 68, joined CBS as an entertainment president in 1995 and has been CEO since 2006. Only Ross remains with the company.

Fager denied the allegations, telling the New Yorker: 'It is wrong that our culture can be falsely defined by a few people with an axe to grind who are using an important movement as a weapon to get even, and not by the hundreds of women and men that have thrived, both personally and professionally, at '60 Minutes'. I fully support my husband and stand behind him in this statement.

"The timing of this report comes in the midst of the company's very public legal dispute", the CBS directors said.

During the CBS annual Upfronts presentation in May, in which network executives pitched ad buyers on the upcoming TV season, the audience gave Moonves a standing ovation.

The company specified that "While that litigation process continues, the CBS management team has the full support of the independent board members".

Another writer, Dinah Kirgo, said when she rebuffed Moonves' advances in the 1980s he started spreading rumors that she was hard to work with. When asked for comment by ABC News on the report, the company's independent board of directors said it would investigate the accusations. In its statement Friday, the CBS board said that it will "continue to focus on creating value for our shareowners".

The media company's stock fell by more than 5 percent Friday afternoon amid news of the impending investigation and the allegations.

  • Kyle Peterson