60 Minutes executive, Jeff Fager, has yet to return to work at CBS as Les Moonves’ replacement dodges sexual misconduct claims surrounding the network in an email to staff.
Moonves resigned from his position on Sunday following a fresh wave of allegations against him and Fager.
Interim CEO, Joseph Ianniello, took the helm of CBS on Monday and didn’t mention the sexual harassment allegations against Moonves or Fager in an email titled ‘Looking Forward’ that was sent to staff on his first day in the position.
In the email that was seen by Reuters, Ianniello said the company was in a position of strategic strength and that it was important to make clear the company’s commitment to ‘diversity, inclusion and a safe and positive working environment’.
‘Today also marks a major transition for all of us as Leslie Moonves departs from CBS. Les’ departure occurs at a time when we are operating from a position of great strategic strength,’ Ianniello wrote.
Meanwhile, Fager was a no-show at work on Monday.
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60 Minutes executive, Jeff Fager (left), has yet to return to work at CBS as Les Moonves’ (right) replacement dodges sexual misconduct claims surrounding the network in an email to staff
‘He knows the end is coming for him and is not at work while everything unfolds,’ a source told PageSix.
A total of 12 women have alleged mistreatment from Moonves in a pair of stories in The New Yorker, including forced oral sex, groping and retaliation if they resisted him.
Moonves denied the charges, although he said he had consensual relations with three of the women.
Joseph Ianniello (pictured), took the helm of CBS on Monday and didn’t mention the sexual harassment allegations against Moonves or Fager in an email sent to staff
One of the six new women who spoke out against Moonves in an expose on Sunday told in greater detail on Monday how he allegedly attacked her in the 1980s.
Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, 82, is among the women whose fresh claims against Moonves led to his resignation.
She alleged that he forced her to perform oral sex on him and exposed himself to her in the 1980s when they both worked as television executives for the now defunct production company Lorimar.
On Monday, she told Good Morning America that the incident and others, where he allegedly harassed her, cost her her career.
She did not report them to police at the time because she was afraid of losing her job and, with two children at home to feed, could not afford to.
Golden-Gottlieb reported Moonves to police last year but the statute of limitations meant he was beyond prosecution or a civil lawsuit.
‘He took my whole career,’ Golden Gottlieb said, appearing on ABC with celebrity attorney Gloria Allred.
‘I needed the job. I had two children that I was responsible for and I was frightened,’ she said, explaining why she stayed on.
One of the six new women who spoke out against Moonves in an expose on Sunday told in greater detail on Monday how he allegedly attacked her in the 1980s. Phyllis Golden Gottlieb, now 82, appeared on Good Morning America on Monday with celebrity attorney Gloria Allred
Insisting that their encounters were ‘in no way’ consensual, she dismissed his statement on Sunday that he had done nothing to harm any of his accusers’ careers.
‘He really hurt my career.
‘Right after he appeared naked, he came running into my office and did this whole thing about that I didn’t send a memo to any anybody and then he picked me up and threw me against the wall.
‘I just lay on the floor and cried. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me,’ she said.
She was describing an alleged incident in her office which she told Ronan Farrow about as part of his expose on Sunday.
In that piece, she described how he retaliated against her when she rebuffed him by moving her into a smaller office.
‘He was the head of CBS. No one was going to take me,’ she said.
Though she cannot claim damages in civil court and a criminal investigation is out of the question, Golden-Gottlieb said she wanted to speak out to rid herself of having to carry the secret.
‘This happened so long ago but I just wanted to get it off me. To share it with someone,’ she said.
Allred said that while it was also too late to file a civil lawsuit against Moonves, his ‘victims’ deserved ‘justice’ of some kind.
Moonves has categorically denied forcing himself onto any of the women.
He says any and all sexual encounters he has had in his life have been consensual.
Moonves resigned as the chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation on Sunday but will stay on as an adviser to the board for two years.
His wife, Julie Chen, was also absent from her position on the network’s ‘The Talk’ on Monday.
In what was supposed to be a celebratory season premiere Monday for ‘The Talk,’ its four other panelists walked out somberly without Chen, who acts as host and moderator and whose absence had not been announced.
Sharon Osbourne choked back tears as she spoke about Chen, who has an eight-year-old son with Moonves.
‘As you all know, Julie’s husband is in the news,’ Osbourne said. ‘And she’s taking off time to be with her family.’
Moonves’ wife, Julie Chen (both pictured), was also absent from her position on the network’s ‘The Talk’ on Monday. They have been married since 2004
Chen also hosts the prime-time reality show ‘Big Brother’ on CBS. She has been among the network’s most prominent personalities and public faces – especially with her added role of wife of the chairman and CEO.
She publicly supported her husband after a first round of accusations last month, but she has yet to release any statement this time. It’s not clear how long she’ll be gone from ‘The Talk’ or what he status may be on ‘Big Brother,’ which is in its 20th season.
Osbourne expressed love and support for her friend and co-host, a sentiment seconded by the show’s other three panelists, Sara Gilbert, Eve and Sheryl Underwood.
‘Whatever times I’ve had of hardship over the last eight years, Julie has always been there for me,’ Osbourne said. ‘It’s very embarrassing and upsetting to have to talk about her husband, but we feel it’s right.’
All four also expressed vehement support for the women who came forward about Moonves.
‘These women’s stories matter,’ Gilbert said.
Her co-hosts said they expect her to come back to ‘The Talk.’
‘Julie Chen I know is a resilient woman,’ Underwood said. ‘I think this is a blessing from God to be unburdened from secrets and unchained from lies.’
As for Fager (pictured), the New Yorker also reported that a former intern at 60 Minutes three decades ago, Sarah Johansen, claimed he groped her at a party
The allegations against Moonves came when he was married to his first wife, Nancy Wiesenfeld, whom he divorced in 2004, the same year he married Chen.
CBS Corp said on Monday that it would pay $120million to Moonves if an internal investigation into allegations of harassment fails to provide grounds for his dismissal.
The network said in the filing that the settlement of $120million would be put in a trust within 30 days and that Moonves could end up with nothing if the result of the investigation went against him.
As for Fager, the New Yorker also reported that a former intern at 60 Minutes three decades ago, Sarah Johansen, claimed he groped her at a party.
Fager is the gatekeeper for the most influential news show on television, and only the second executive producer it has ever had.
Earlier this summer, six former employees told the magazine that Fager had touched employees in ways that made them uncomfortable. Some women said Fager tolerated a workplace where men were protected.
‘I really felt like this was one of the most sexist places I’ve ever worked,’ Johansen said.
Fager told the magazine that he had encouraged staff to talk to the lawyers investigating ’60 Minutes,’ and added: ‘I believe that a fair and open investigation will determine 60 Minutes is a good place where talented women and men thrive and produce some of the finest broadcast journalism in America.’
Reached Monday, Fager said he had no additional comment.
60 Minutes has often operated as an island unto itself at CBS News, maintaining separate offices across 57th Street in Manhattan from where most of the news division is headquartered.
As for Fager’s successor if he does not survive the investigation, the show’s No. 2 executive, Bill Owens, is well respected, and veteran 48 Hours executive producer Susan Zirinsky would be a formidable candidate from outside the show but inside CBS.
As of Monday, CBS shares fell 1.5 per cent to $55.20.