Ronan Farrow, who helped launch the #MeToo movement with his Pulitzer-winning exposés on Harvey Weinstein, reported the story which features six different women alleging sexual misconduct dating back more than two decades by the network executive. The allegations come as Moonves is in a power struggle with majority shareholder of both CBS and Viacom, Shari Redstone.
Redstone wants to remerge the two corporate entities, while Moonves wants to keep them separate. Osbourne called it "interesting timing," tweeting that it "seems like an attempt to discredit [Moonves] before a major court case."
Interesting timing, seems like an attempt to discredit Leslie before a major court case. I hope people don't rush to judgement and let @CBS conduct their investigation. Sending my love and support to my friends @JulieChen and Leslie Moonves
CBS's own news coverage of the story included a high-ranking CBS executive, who chose to remain unidentified, confirming Osbourne's suspicions and calling it "corporate hardball," as covered by Mediaite. According to CBS News, the executive said, "The gloves come off when people are trying to gain control of the corporation and resort to character assassination."
Redstone released a statement denying any involvement shortly before the allegations were made public, though knowledge that the story was forthcoming had leaked early Friday afternoon. "The malicious insinuation that Ms. Redstone is somehow behind the allegations of inappropriate personal behavior by Mr. Moonves or today's reports is false and self-serving," she said, calling for a "thorough, open and transparent" investigation.
Osbourne's support of Moonves follows fellow "Talk" co-host Julie Chen's, who has been married to Moonves since 2004. She released her own statement of support on Friday via Twitter, wherein she called her husband "a kind, decent and moral human being."
One of the four women who went on the record with their names was actress Illeana Douglas, who claimed Moonves threw himself at her while she was working on a comedy pilot for the network in the late '90s. She believes she was fired after turning down his advances.
According to Douglas' account, she was asked to meet Moonves in his office while she was working on a sitcom called "Queens," to be sure they were -- as Farrow put it -- "creatively aligned." She said they didn't talk business, however, and he asked whether she was single before asking to kiss her.
"In a millisecond, he's got one arm over me, pinning me," she told Farrow, adding that he was "violently kissing" her. "What it feels like to have someone hold you down -- you can't breathe, you can't move. The physicality of it was horrendous." When she went to leave, Douglas told Farrow that Moonves momentarily blocked her path. "It was physically scary. It was so invasive ... it has stayed with me the rest of my life, that terror."
CBS told Farrow that Moonves acknowledges trying to kiss the actress, but "denies any characterization of 'sexual assault,' intimidation, or retaliatory action."
"The Talk" has not aired a new episode since the allegations were presented, but will be all-new on Monday where it is likely these allegations will become a topic of conversation.