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Les Moonves, the longtime CEO and Chairman of CBS, has stepped down amid numerous sexual assault and harassment allegations, the company announced Sunday.

The company says it and Mr Moonves would donate $20m ($28m AUD) to groups supporting the #MeToo movement. Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello will serve as president and acting CEO while the board searches for a permanent successor.

"These are more numerous claims, these are six women all of them on the record, also describing more serious allegations", Farrow said on CNN's "Reliable Sources" shortly after The New Yorker published the followup.

Moonves, in a statement included in the report, acknowledged three encounters before his tenure at CBS, but said they were consensual and added: "The appalling accusations in this article are untrue". Locked in a battle for corporate control with Shari Redstone of National Amusements, Moonves received a standing ovation from an audience that sensed it could be his a year ago.

She says Moonves suggested going to lunch on a work day, but instead drove to a secluded area where he "grabbed my head and he took it all the way down onto his penis, and pushed his penis into my mouth". The donation will be made immediately, the statement said, and deducted from any severance he ultimately receives.

Among the claims made in both waves of allegations are that Moonves has a habit of setting up meetings with women, making sure no one else but him is around, and then making aggressive sexual advances.

CNN also reported that the CBS board could attempt to "claw back" some compensation to Moonves based on the investigation's findings. He claimed to have had consensual relationships with three of the report's sources, though he did not specify whom.

That's the SECOND set of sexual misconduct allegations levied against Moonves in the a year ago; now, it appears that what had been a lengthy discussion about how to remove him will turn into a quick and decisive exit.

The announcement Sunday evening also concludes a months-long battle for control of CBS between Moonves and the company's controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone. In a statement to The New Yorker, Moonves admitted to behaving badly with women but denied assaulting them or hurting their careers.

"I am deeply saddened to be leaving the company", Moonves added, calling it "an incredible privilege" to have worked for CBS.

One of Mr Moonves' accusers, Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, also reported her accusations to Los Angeles police previous year, but they were not pursued because the statute of limitations had expired.

Moonves joined CBS as head of entertainment in 1995, and has been CEO of CBS Corp. since 2006, leading the CBS network, Showtime and other entities.

Under Moonves's contract, the 68-year-old could be owed as much as US$180 million in severance - as well as a production deal - but the CEO had been facing challenges on a number of fronts. The CBS board unanimously rescinded the dividend it previously approved which sought to dilute the Redstone family's control over the company.

The new allegations have made it untenable for Moonves to continue in his post, though it remains unclear whether he will be fired or allowed to resign. Jeff Fager, executive producer of 60 Minutes, has been accused by six women who said he inappropriately touched them.


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