National Organization for Women (NOW)

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

202-628-8669

Les Moonves Must Be Arrested--Not Paid Off

Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt

WASHINGTON - New revelations about CBS Chief Les Moonves’ long history of sexual harassment and abuse has finally led to his downfall—but he and CBS are still trying to hold on to his golden parachute. The network has announced it is still exploring a severance payment to the accused sexual predator, who committed the most heinous criminal acts against women he supervised, and then systematically destroyed their careers.

Jessica Pallington, who revealed Moonves’ history of sexual assault, including forced oral sex, told The New Yorker, “He should take all that money and give it to an organization that helps survivors of sexual abuse.”

We agree. CBS has said it will give $20 million to organizations that “support equality for women in the workplace,” but that’s just more tone-deaf avoidance of the real problem. This is not about pay equity--it’s about criminal conduct. This is not about workplace culture--it’s about enabling sexual predation.

Les Moonves should face justice for his crimes, not receive a payout to go away.

CBS should acknowledge its perfidy and responsibility, not be allowed to get away with a coverup.

We still haven’t heard what the network will do about 60 Minutes producer Jeff Fager, who has also been accused of sexual misconduct. CBS has betrayed the public trust, and the network can no longer be given the benefit of the doubt. The network is rife with men protecting men and their own pocketbook instead of ensuring women’s safety.

There is no doubt. There is no excuse for the network’s culture of misogyny. Sexual assault cannot be regarded as the price of doing business with high-profile, powerful executives. Sexual violence is a crime, and criminals must face accountability. Corporations that cover-up criminal behavior, or make excuses for sexual predators, do not deserve public support. CBS is part of every American household, and yet they’ve allowed a vile predator to sit at the head of their table.

We call on CBS to do the right thing. Les Moonves must face justice and CBS must fire Jeff Fager--and take serious steps to make survivors of sexual assault whole and protect women from further predation and abuse.

Support survivors. Believe women. The time is now! Enough is enough.

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The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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