The former chief executive officer of CBS will not receive a multi-million dollar severance package after failing to cooperate with an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

Les Moonves was due to receive $120m (£95m) after leaving the network in September following allegations from women who said he had subjected them to mistreatment including forced oral sex and groping.

The company said the money was set aside at the time of his departure but he would not be receiving it, as the board ruled he had not cooperated with the inquiry.

CBS said its former CEO won't get the huge severance cheque
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CBS said its former CEO won’t get the huge severance cheque

Mr Moonves’ lawyer said that decision was “baseless” but did not say whether the former chief executive would be formally challenging it.

In a statement, CBS said: “We have determined that there are grounds to terminate for cause, including his willful and material misfeasance, violation of company policies and breach of his employment contract, as well as his willful failure to cooperate fully with the company’s investigation.”

Earlier this month, the New York Times said a draft report found Mr Moonves committed “multiple acts of serious nonconsensual sexual misconduct”.

The Times said Mr Moonves deleted numerous texts and was “evasive and untruthful at times”. The investigators declined to comment.

CBS' board said he did not cooperate with their investigation
Image:
CBS’ board said he did not cooperate with their investigation

Mr Moonves attorney Andrew Levander said his client “vehemently denies any non-consensual sexual relations and cooperated extensively and fully with investigators.”

He added: “The conclusions of the CBS board were foreordained and are without merit.

“Consistent with the pattern of leaks that have permeated this ‘process,’ the press was informed of these baseless conclusions before Mr Moonves, further damaging his name, reputation, career and legacy.”

Mr Moonves had become one of the most admired people in the entertainment industry and had hits including Two And A Half Men, and Survivor.

He was also one of the highest-paid executives in the USA, making about $70m (£55m) a year.

Gloria Allred, an attorney who represents four of the women who have accused the chief executive of misconduct, has said CBS should release the details of the investigators findings and compensate those with provable claims.

She said: “The public has a right to know who at CBS was aware of Mr Moonves’ alleged misconduct and when they knew of it.

“Instead of keeping this money and rewarding their corporation for Mr Moonves’ alleged misconduct, they should share these many millions with those who can prove that they are victims.”

As well as Mr Moonves, 60 Minutes executive Jeff Fagar and news anchor Charlie Rose lost their jobs over allegations.

CBS previously deducted $20m (£15m) from the package it planned to give to Mr Moonves, with the intention of donating it to organisations which promote gender equity in the workplace and fighting sexual harassment.

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