CBS ad sales chief voices support for Les Moonves

July 28, 2018 1:59 pm

CBS ad sales chief Jo Ann Ross is throwing her support behind CEO Leslie Moonves amid allegations of sexual misconduct against the media titan.

“My experience with him on a professional and personal basis has never had any hint of the behavior this story refers to,” Ross said on Twitter on Friday night in response to a New Yorker article that details sexual misconduct allegations against Moonves by six women, including actress Illeana Douglas.

Ross continued: “Leslie has always been an advocate and mentor to me showing me the deepest respect at all times. He has never been threatening or abusive. In fact, Leslie has been my ‘go to’ through any challenges.”

Ross has been at CBS for more than 25 years and in 2002 became the first woman to serve as ad sales chief at a broadcast TV network. She was promoted to president and chief advertising revenue officer last year.

Angelica McDaniel, exec VP of daytime programs and syndicated program development, also took to Twitter on Friday to show her support for Moonves.

“I developed under the leadership of Leslie Moonves, and the relationship has been one of respect and support, in an environment where talent and hard work rise to the top,” she wrote. “Statements about a culture of repression and subjugation of women have never been brought to bear on myself or my department in my eight years as a top executive at CBS.”

Both women are receiving backlash for their comments on Twitter, with critics saying such comments dismiss the claims made by these women and make the assumption that just because they didn’t observe this behavior, others didn’t.

Brad Bessey, who has served as executive producer on CBS shows like “The Talk” and “Entertainment Tonight,” said on Twitter that he respects the statement made by Moonves in the Ronan Farrow article. He also responded to Moonves’ wife and host of “Big Brother” Julie Chen: “I love the way he lights up when you enter a room.”

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Chen herself, who has been married to Moonves since 2004, said on Twitter that her husband is a “good man and father” and she fully supports him.

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In the New Yorker article, Moonves admits “I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected – and abided by the principle – that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career.”

Ahead of the New Yorker expose, CBS released a statement on Friday saying its board of directors is conducting an internal review of the allegations outlined in the article.

“All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously,” the company said in a statement. “The Independent Directors of CBS have committed to investigating claims that violate the Company’s clear policies in that regard. Upon the conclusion of that investigation, which involves recently reported allegations that go back several decades, the Board will promptly review the findings and take appropriate action.”

The allegations come as CBS is at the center of a very public legal dispute with Shari Redstone and her National Amusements for control of the company.

According to reports, Redstone called for CBS’ investigation to be open and transparent.

Jeff Fager, exec producer of “60 Minutes,” was also called out in the New Yorker article for condoning harassment during his time as chair of CBS News, a role he held from 2011 through 2015.

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