I just returned from a week’s vacation in the mountains where I had almost no Internet access but was aware that Ronan Farrow had published a damning sexual misconduct article about Les Moonves, the Chairman & CEO of publicly traded company CBS Corporation.
Now home, I finally had the chance to fetch the New Yorker from my mailbox and read the article in its entirety and it’s clear to me that Les Moonves needs to go and no doubt will go in the near future. You should read Ronan Farrow’s article and decide for yourself but I remain thankful that investigative reporters continue to shine a spotlight on leadership in America — whether in government or private enterprise.
The summary of Ronan’s article is that Les Moonves made unwanted advances to actresses, writers and producers. These weren’t simply flirtations — he forcefully kissed and groped women, forced his hands up skirts, locked and blocked doors and made direct comments about the need to have sex with him. In addition to these fireable offenses he also clearly blocked women’s careers who resisted his overtures.
But couldn’t this just be a case of “he said, she said” or disgruntled employees seeking revenge on a powerful man?
No. There are four named individuals in the story, each risking careers by publicly speaking up. For each witness there are several friends who corroborated that the stories were repeated to them at the time they occurred and have been recounted over the years. The stories bear very similar approaches. There were also two women who spoke off-the-record but whose stories were also heavily fact-checked by the New Yorker and they cited 30 sources including both existing and former employees inside of CBS in their overall reporting.
It’s time for Les Moonves to go.
If you read the Moonves story and also the harrowing accounts from Ronan Farrow’s story on Harvey Weinstein there are many similarities. They both abused their power, they both apparently traded potential career advancement for sexual relations and retaliated when rebuffed. They both found ways to invite women into private office space after staff had cleared out and they both offered alcohol to women to encourage the situation.
So why is Harvey Weinstein portrayed as a monster while Les Moonves is in power? For starters Weinstein is an overweight, unlikeable, gruff man who many are repulsed by and was reportedly always un-liked by many in the industry. Les Moonves comes across on the surface as one of the most charming and likable guys in the entertainment industry. Moonves was seen as a leader and somebody who built careers and was a mentor and a champion to many. Weinstein was seen as an outsider who few liked and who