From Harvey Weinstein to Morgan Freeman, to R Kelly, there seem to be growing numbers of reports of sexual misconduct made against influential men and celebrities. Les Moonves is one of such men and whose misdeeds came to light in late 2018.
The top media exec is most notably known for being the chairman and CEO of the CBS Corporation. Since the mid-80s, the businessman has steadily grown his wealth and earned a reputation as having the Midas touch, with his ability to revive failing networks to successful standards.
Les Moonves Bio
Leslie (Les) Moonves was born into a Jewish family in Brooklyn New York, on the 6th of October 1949. He grew up with a sister and two brothers in Valley Stream New York where he attended the local high school before enrolling as a Pre-Med student in Pennsylvania’s Bucknell University.
Moonves found the science major mundane and in his second year, switched to study Spanish which he found much more interesting. He graduated in 1971 and moved back to New York to pursue a career in acting. He landed minor roles in a few movies before deciding that being an actor was not his true calling.
He, however, stayed in the television business and joined Lorimar Television in 1985 where he served as the executive in charge of the network’s movies and mini-series. He continued to climb the ladder at Lorimar, eventually becoming its President from 1990 to 1993 as well as president of Warner Bros. when both companies merged their operations.
Les Moonves joined CBS in 1995 and garnered promotion after promotion that eventually put him in the seat of CEO and President in 2003 and ultimately Chairman in 2016. In addition to heading CBS, Moonves is also co-president and COO of Viacom Inc.
His many successes earned him the reputation of being one of the most powerful successful figures in media to date.
In July of 2018, the New York Times published allegations of sexual misconduct against Les Mooves. The three women at the helm of the accusations were rumoured to have come forward after Moonves, in the previous year, participated in and made donations to the #MeToo campaign. The campaign served to shed light on the sexual abuse suffered by women in the workplace.
Trouble seemed to be far from over for the media executive when in September of the same year, six more women came forward singing the same tunes. According to some of the women, the abuse had occurred as far back as in the 80s.
In light of findings made by investigators, Les Moonves resigned from CBS with a whopping $120 million in severance set aside for him pending a conclusion of the investigations. However, there is a current debate as to whether Moonves will receive the total package as he has been found to have broken the terms of the severance contract by not fully cooperating with investigators.
Family – Wife and Children
Les Mooves married his first wife Nancy Wiesenfeld in 1978 and the union bore three children – a girl Sara, and two boys Adam and Michael. Wiesenfeld filed for a divorce in 2003 citing irreconcilable differences and a year later the divorce was finalized.
While separated from his wife, Moonves met and began dating Julie Chen and the couple married in 2004 and had a son, Charlie, in 2009. The couple currently resides in Beverly Hills, California.
Julie Chen is an American television personality, TV host and producer for CBS. She is most noted as being the head host of the TV talk show The Talk. She has also been the host of the American edition of the Big Brother show since its inception in 2000.
In light of her husband’s scandal, Chen has remained the loyal wife and has not budged from his side. The ordeal, however, cost her her seat at the table of hosts on the show The Talk. In a goodbye message to fans in September 2018, Chen stated that she would be leaving the show in order to be with her husband at a time when he most needed her.
Being one of the top media execs in the world has to come with some pretty nifty payouts. Les Moonves was considered to be one of the highest paid executives in the United States, and was reportedly paid a salary of $68.4 million in 2017 alone!
As of 2018, Moonves’ net worth was estimated at an astounding $700 million. The media mogul is currently living large in a $13 million mansion in Beverly Hills, one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in the United States, and owns two other houses in both Malibu and New York.