Moonves ruled first the programming, then the full network and other corporate entities such as Showtime for two decades.
For a decade under his leadership, CBS has been the most-watched network in the U.S., narrowly retaining its crown ahead of NBC in the 2017-18 season.
Now, with Moonves reportedly departing CBS, the future of the company could be in jeopardy. This week, multiple news outlets reported that Moonves was negotiating a possible exit with independent directors of CBS' board. Recent reports indicated a potential payout in the range of $100 million.
The latest allegations were not addressed in CBS' announcement of Moonves' exit.
One of the women who has come forward against Moonves filed a complaint late past year with the Los Angeles Police Department but prosecutors declined to pursue charges because the statute of limitations had expired, The New Yorker reported, citing law-enforcement officials it did not name.
Six extra women are now accusing Moonves of abusing his power between the 1980s and early 2000s to force oral sex, expose himself and wield both physical and verbal intimidation. She accused Moonves of forcing her to perform oral sex on him while driving her to lunch. Redstone and her father Sumner, through their holding company National Amusements, owns the majority of voting shares in CBS and Viacom.
One of his accusers, Jessica Pallingston, told the Pulitzer-winning journalist Ronan Farrow, who broke the allegations against Moonves in The New Yorker, that such a payoff would be "completely disgusting".More news: Obama to receive ethics in government award from University of IL
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Farrow's initial piece on Moonves presumably helped him surface other women who claimed similar stories.
Moonves denied the allegations, and characterized his relationships with some of the women as consensual. The Moonves-led CBS had opposed such a deal, leading to an open revolt in the board room and a legal battle to diminish Redstone's influence over the company. All of them said they believed their careers had suffered because they rejected his advances. "In my 40 years of work, I have never before heard of such disturbing accusations", Moonves said. O'Donnell added: "This I know is true: Women can not achieve equality in the workplace or society until there is reckoning".
Moonves told Farrow in a statement that the "appalling accusations in this article are untrue".
"As an employee of CBS, I would just like to say that Les Moonves should be fired without getting a fucking dollar", Bloom tweeted Sunday.
Moonves kept a relatively low profile in August, but remained in charge of the broadcasting behemoth.
While CBS appointed a team of lawyers to investigate, there was outrage from some advocates that Moonves, who is Jewish, was kept on the job.
It's hard to imagine CBS without Moonves. Television, where his team developed hit shows such as "Friends" and "ER". Accusations by six other women, which appeared in the same magazine in July, had sparked an investigation by CBS. Moonves said there were legitimate hard feelings between the two in his early years, but the relationship warmed before Letterman's retirement. He has been chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation since 2006.
On one level, this is a clear victory for Redstone, whose father Sumner Redstone bought CBS nearly twenty years ago.