The #MeToo movement may have slowed down from its initial onslaught in October 2017, but it is far from over as CBS CEO Les Moonves exits over sexual misconduct allegations. The harassment claims and removal from his position will leave an indelible mark on an otherwise long, successful career with CBS.
Based on a Twitter hashtag originally coined by social activist Tarana Burke, the #MeToo movement began in October 2017 and left a wake of sexual misconduct allegations in its path. Huge industry names like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K were marred permanently as the world truly acknowledged their crimes - some for the first time publicly. The founding of the Time's Up Organization, showcased during the Oscars, this past year proved that Hollywood appeared to be moving in the right direction. CBS CEO Les Moonves was first mentioned in this context several weeks ago when the New Yorker reported the stories of six women accusing him of misconduct.
A Deadline exclusive on Sunday revealed the $100 million dollar settlement that was initially part of the deal to get Moonves to step down from CBS. However, after new allegations arose, that initial number was apparently "off the table," according to an insider at Deadline. The compensation pay appeared to have dropped to about $25 or $30 million, remaining quite a significant sum for someone accused of sexual harassment and assault. This decision caused a just outrage at the #MeToo camp, with the Time's Up organization releasing a statement that expressed their opinion that Les Moonves', "$100 million settlement sends a message to survivors everywhere that powerful men can act without fear of consequence." Time's Up released a follow up statement:
These allegations speak to a culture of toxic complicity at CBS, where the safety of women was continuously ignored to protect the careers of powerful men and the corporation. The CBS Board of Directors has an obligation to move swiftly and decisively to create a safe work environment for all and rid the company of this toxic culture.
Sunday's story did not end there, as just three hours after the publication of a second New Yorker piece - written by Ronan Farrow - things got progressively worse for Moonves. The former CEO made his formal departure from CBS and released a resignation statement in which he referred to the allegations as "untrue." Further, CBS announced that Moonves would not receive any of his originally discussed exit compensation and instead, the company planned to donate $20 million to #MeToo organizations.
The #MeToo movement proves its strength once again, as the collective voice of several victims came together to tackle the voice of one corrupt and powerful man. Although it took CBS a bit longer to come to the decision than it perhaps should have, in the end they realized what had to be done. Audiences anticipate what's in store for CBS as they turn a new chapter, moving away from this moment of sordid history.