It took a few years, but CBS is resolving the shareholder litigation over the exit of former chairman Leslie Moonves, the powerful media executive who was forced out in in September 2018 after a sexual misconduct scandal. On Tuesday, a federal judge was told about a proposed settlement. The terms, which have not been disclosed, will require the judge’s approval.
As you’ll recall, in July 2018, The New Yorker published allegations by Ronan Farrow featuring six women who accused Moonves of misconduct. Moonves originally denied the accusations, but his ouster became inevitable as the scandal deepened. Follow-up articles revealed that Moonves had made secret settlements, and canceled sitcoms, in alleged attempts to cover up or retaliate over claims by women working for CBS. This all came as Moonves fought with controlling stakeholder Shari Redstone over the future of the company.
In August 2018, shortly before Moonves stepped down, some investors filed suit in New York against CBS, contending that the company had failed to disclose information that would have a material impact on its business. Responding to the suit, CBS challenged whether it had an obligation under securities law to reveal what it knew about the allegations against Moonves.