By: Fern Sidman
Seems like broadcasting giant CBS had to crack open their piggy bank and fork over millions of smackers in a legal settlement, as was reported in the New York Post. The hefty payment to actress Bobbie Phillips came after she claimed that disgraced ex-CBS executive Les Moonves had sexually harassed her, according to a leak made to the New York Times on Wednesday.
Vanity Fair reported that CBS had retained counsel with two law firms to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct that were made by several women at the network against Moonves. The two firms involved in the investigation were Debevoise & Plimpton and Covington & Burling. According to the results of the probe that were included in a draft report, Phillips had alleged that Moonves forced her to perform oral sex on him in a 1995 meeting, which was then leaked to the NY Times in 2018.
The Jewish Voice reported in 2018 that when Mooves was terminated from his position as CEO he had been denied the controversial $120 million severance package contained in his contract. Based on the graphic report produced by the law firms, CBS concluded that it had an ample number of reasons to fire the television executive for cause, subsequently paving the way for it to withhold the whopping payout.
“With regard to Mr. Moonves, we have determined that there are grounds to terminate for cause, including his willful and material misfeasance, violation of Company policies and breach of his employment contract, as well as his willful failure to cooperate fully with the Company’s investigation,” the 2018 statement said.
As a result of the information contained in the report, CBS and Covington were compelled to pay Phillips millions of dollars because they breached her confidentiality agreement by letting the information leak to the newspaper, according to Vanity Fair.
“Debevoise is not party to any agreements with any parties concerning its work for CBS,” a Debevoise & Plimpton spokesperson said.
The settlement was “rumored to be in the tens of millions” and inked in the fall of 2019, the report said.
Moonves’ termination from his position at CBS came in the aftermath of the shocking reportage provided by New Yorker magazine reporter Ronan Farrow. Farrow’s meticulous research and finely honed investigatory skills resulted in an explosive article that literally rocked the media industry to its core. The published article provided nuanced details of sexual harassment allegations made against Moonves and others in similar positions in the world of media, arts and entertainment.
The Times reported in 2018 that at the 1995 meeting in which Phillips alleged that Moonves forced her to engage in non-consensual oral sex with him, the CBS executive allegedly removed his pants in front of her. The report also indicated that Moonves told her “look how hard you make me.”
Moonves then attempted to offer Phillips employment as an actress on CBS programs by using casting couch rhetoric. He said, “Be my girlfriend and I’ll put you on any show.” The NY Post report indicated that Phillips had appeared in shows such as “Boy Meets World,” “The X-Files” and “Baywatch.”
At this juncture, things turned ugly when Moonves grabbed Phillips by the neck and forced her to perform oral sex on him, according to the report.
After a telephone call interrupted the forced oral sex encounter, Phillips was able to release herself from Moonves’ heavy grip on her neck by grabbing a baseball bat, according to the report. The phone call that Moonves received was from a casting director from the program “E.R.”
The Times also reported that subsequent to the forced encounter, Moonves acknowledged what he had done to Phillips’ Hollywood agent, Marv Dauer. He told Dauer, “if Bobbie talks, I’m finished.”
The NY Post reported that Dauer told Vanity Fair that he was aware she reached a settlement over the leak of the investigation because she “felt her confidentiality had been violated as a result of the leak.”