Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

USC Annenberg suspends use of Moonves’ name on media center

USC Annenberg suspends use of Moonves’ name on media center

Covington & Burling LLP and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP have been retained by CBS lead an investigation into the alleged misconduct of chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, the company said Wednesday.

CBS has so far declined to ask Moonves to step down from his position, but the media company on Monday announced it would appoint an independent investigator to look into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

Moonves has lost his seat on the USC School of Cinematic Arts Board of Councilors, an advisory body to the dean, until at least October, according to a university statement Wednesday.

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"In recognition of the sensitivities surrounding recent allegations against Mr. Moonves, he and Ms. Chen have requested that USC Annenberg temporarily suspend use of the media center's name until the investigation concludes", Cavalcanti added. CBS' board will keep Moonves in his job while two outside law firms investigate the complaints.

CBS's lack of immediate action against Moonves was a "slap in the face to the courageous women who came forward", said Melissa Silverstein, founder of the blog Women and Hollywood, in a Twitter post, as social media reacted quickly to CBS's announcement.

"I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances", said Moonves in a statement to the New Yorker.

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The media center was named the "Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves and CBS Media Center" following a pledged gift from the couple in 2015. "Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely".

As more people skip traditional cable subscriptions to watch TV online, CBS has pushed into streaming more aggressively than other networks. Moonves' wife, Julie Chen, a CBS presenter, has also publicly supported him.

Larry Hamermesh, a professor at Widener University Delaware Law School in Wilmington Delaware, said that the board would want to place Moonves on administrative leave if it believed there was a risk he could act inappropriately while remaining in his position.

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The Board noted that it takes these allegations seriously and is committed to acting in the best interest of the Company and all of its shareholders, and is confident that the employees of CBS will continue to perform at a high level as this process unfolds.

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