Just when CBS thought it was out of the woods, The New York Times dropped another bomb of a story Wednesday evening concerning former CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves.
The rather extraordinary investigative report details and how Moonves -with assistance from a low-level Hollywood manager- tried to cover up a sexual harassment claim made against him while a trio of Times reporters were looking into his past behavior.
According to the Times, an actress named Bobbie Phillips told her manager Marv Dauer in 1995 that Moonves -president of Warner Bros. TV at the time- had sexually assaulted her in his office.
“I didn’t want to push her, but she told me he violated her,” Dauer said.
Fast forward 20+ years – Looking to resurrect his client (and his own) career, Dauer worked with Moonves to basically buy Phillips’ silence, as Moonves was going through #MeToo issues of his own.
The Times gained access to hundreds the secret text messages between the two men, texts which include what are essentially bribes that if Dauer helped Moonves buy Phillips’ silence in regard to her sexual harassment allegiation, he’d try to get her jobs.
According to the story, the “cascade” of text messages could seriously hurt Moonves’ chances of getting that $120 million severance package.
Moonves later texted Dauer: “If Bobbie talks, I’m finished.”
Moonves told the Times “I strongly believe that the sexual encounter with Ms. Phillips more than 20 years ago was consensual.”
Phillips thinks otherwise.
Ironically, this story was published one day after Moonves’ wife Julie Chen announced she was making her return to CBS to host Celebrity Big Brother.
His exit came after a tumultuous four months during which CBS sued parent company and controlling shareholder National Amusements over its future, and a total 12 women accused Moonves of sexual harassment and intimidation in a pair of New Yorker stories published in July and this morning.
Moonves left CBS Corp. on Sept. 9 after a 23-year run at the company. He served as CEO for nearly half of that run.