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CBS board to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by CEO; stock falls

CBS Corp.'s board will investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by the media company's Chairman, CEO and President Leslie Moonves that will be detailed in an upcoming article by The New Yorker, according to a July 27 statement by CBS' independent directors.

The statement noted that the allegations were recently reported but involve incidents "that go back several decades." Variety, which reported earlier on the investigation, said The New Yorker article in question is expected to be published July 27.

"All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously. The Independent Directors of CBS have committed to investigating claims that violate the Company's clear policies in that regard," the board said in its statement.

In the meantime, Moonves' role as the corporation's leader remains unchanged and the CBS board of directors has voiced its "full support" at this time for the executive and his management team, noting the company's ongoing legal dispute with majority shareholder National Amusements Inc. over control of CBS. Moonves is among several members of CBS' board named in those proceedings.

"While that litigation process continues, the CBS management team has the full support of the independent board members. Along with that team, we will continue to focus on creating value for our shareowners," the statement said.

Longtime CBS leader Moonves is the latest in a series of media and other industry executives to come under scrutiny for alleged sexual misconduct.

The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow was among the journalists who won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on sexually predatory behavior by powerful men, including disgraced former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein's production company, burdened by the sexual harassment scandal, ultimately filed for bankruptcy. Its assets were recently acquired by Dallas private equity firm Lantern Asset Management L.P.

In November 2017, CBS News fired "CBS This Morning" anchor Charlie Rose following allegations of sexual harassment. About a week later, Matt Lauer, the longtime host of NBC (US)'s "Today" was dismissed over "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace."

Shares of CBS began falling around midday ET on July 27 as news of the investigation broke. The stock was down more than 7% as of about 1:15 p.m. ET.