The CBS Board hired two law firms to look into whether it had grounds for firing Les Moonves, its former CEO. The grounds-for-firing piece is an important deal because $120 million hangs in the balance. The reports indicate that the CBS Board has “multiple bases” for claiming “fired for cause.” The unwanted sexual advances and activities with employees. The attempts to silence the victims. The failure to disclose the cover-ups to the Board, well, that will do it.
Then there are the problems at “Sixty Minutes.” Seems that the show needed an unwanted camera on itself. Turns out that the executive producers, Don Hewitt, and, more recently, Jeff Fager, were also engaged in unwanted, uninvited, and unbelievable conduct with female staff members. One case dates back to 1990 and CBS is still paying the woman involved compensation. That agreement has been renegotiated multiple times, with more than $5 million in cash paid as damages.
The reports note that there was a culture of “autonomy.” “Sixty Minutes” pretty much operated in its own little world without oversight. Mr. Moonves also suffered from a lack of adult supervision.
Scrolling back through the “Sixty Minutes” archives, there are a stunning number of show segments devoted to the issue of sexual harassment, from coverage of the Baylor University scandal to the way servers are treated by customers in restaurants. Did these guys watch their own shows?
Perhaps the most interesting part of the report is its conclusion that there was not a “frat house” atmosphere at “Sixty Minutes” or CBS. Let’s see, Charlie Rose, Less Moonves, Don Hewitt, Jeff Fager? Of course not.
Too powerful.Not subject to the rules. The success excused behaviors or made those in charge look the other way. Fear silenced employees. Self-righteousness prevented introspection. All symptoms of those who are too big for their breeches.