NYU Journalism School Hires Ex-New Yorker Fact Checker Who Falsely Said ICE Agent Had Nazi Tattoo

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

New York University has hired Talia Lavin as an adjunct journalism professor less than a year after the former New Yorker fact checker resigned after falsely accusing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent of having a Nazi tattoo.

Lavin’s undergraduate course “Reporting on the Far Right” will kick off in the fall semester of 2019 at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. In its official faculty bio, the university billed Lavin as an expert in “far-right extremism and social justice.”

At least one current NYU journalism student questioned the decision to hire Lavin. “I sympathize with Lavin’s politics, but I don’t know why someone who had to quit their journalism job for falsely implying someone is a Nazi should be teaching at NYU,” said the student, who requested anonymity for fear of academic reprisal. “I know there are plenty of reporters out there in need of work who haven’t made a mistake like that.”

Lavin declined to comment for this story. Reps for NYU, the school’s journalism department and university president Andrew Hamilton did not respond to requests for comment.

Also Read: Media Matters Hires Ex-New Yorker Fact Checker Who Falsely Said ICE Agent Had Nazi Tattoo

After leaving the New Yorker last June, Lavin was hired by the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America less than a month later to focus on “far right extremism.” Though her LinkedIn profile lists that she currently works there, a spokesperson for the organization confirmed that she was no longer employed there. An additional person with knowledge of the matter said she left several months ago.

Neither Lavin’s three-year tenure at the New Yorker nor her stint at Media Matters are mentioned on her official NYU faculty bio.

Lavin’s career promptly blew up last June after she accused Justin Gaertner, a wheelchair-bound ICE agent, of having a Nazi Iron Cross tattoo over his left elbow. Lavin made the charge in a tweet after viewing a photo of Gaertner online. She later deleted her tweet after she said a number of people responded and informed her that the tattoo in question appeared to be a Maltese Cross — a symbol commonly used by members of the U.S. Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Also Read: Media Matters Says No Boycott for Joy Reid, Blasts ‘Right-Wing Chicanery’

That, however, was not enough for the critics. The story blew up on social media and Lavin even earned a lengthy rebuke from ICE itself as well as The New Yorker. “The personal social-media accounts of staff members do not represent the magazine, and we in no way share the viewpoint expressed in this tweet,” a magazine spokesperson told National Review. “The tweet has been deleted, and we deeply regret any harm that this may have caused Mr. Gaertner.”

In a Twitter thread, Lavin soon announced her resignation from the magazine and apologized to Gaertner over the error. She also criticized ICE, saying it was not “acceptable” for the agency to attack her personally over her mistake.

“This has been a wild and difficult week. I owe ICE agent Justin Gaertner a sincere apology for spreading an rumor about his tattoo,” she said. “However, I do not think it is acceptable for a federal agency to target a private citizen for a good faith, hastily rectified error.”

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Donald Trump’s Tuesday Tweetstorm Fuels New Report Of Cozy Fox News Relationship

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As the New Yorker is unspooling its lengthy report codifying the close relationship between Fox News and Donald Trump’s presidency, it was maybe not the best morning for Trump to lift so much material from Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity’s …

‘Apprentice’ Staffers Doubt That Trump N-Word Tape Exists: ‘It Would Have Leaked Long Ago’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Did President Trump secretly utter the N-word while starring on “The Apprentice” as many have whispered over the years?

The answers, according to a new piece from The New Yorker is probably “no.” In a deep dive into the relationship between Trump and “Apprentice” creator Mark Burnett published Thursday, New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe spoke with several former show insiders who said if such an explosive recording existed it would have leaked by now.

“If somebody had the goods, it would have leaked long ago. There were no Trump fans on the set. I don’t know a single person who worked on the show who voted for Trump,” an anonymous show employee told Keefe.

Also Read: ‘Apprentice’ Staffers Had to ‘Reverse Engineer’ Episodes Because ‘Unprepared’ Trump Would Fire Contestants on a Whim

On the record, Jonathan Braun, a longtime senior editor on the show, also said he thought the idea of an N-word tape was bogus.

“I was the supervising editor on the first six seasons,” he told Keefe. “I didn’t watch every frame, but in everything I saw, I didn’t hear him saying anything so horrible.”

A third staffer pointed out that Trump was never alone on set and was constantly being watched by up to a hundred people, in contrast to his infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump had assumed he was alone.

The piece by Keefe estimated that there could be as much as 60,000 hours of unaired footage and outtakes from Trump’s time on ‘The Apprentice” and it’s unclear how much of it has ever been reviewed.

Also Read: Fox Business Senior Correspondent Calls Trump a ‘Serial BS Artist’

Even if an N-word tape did exist, people close to the show also said it would be impossible to release because it would open up M-G-M Television — which now owns Burnett’s company —  to a lawsuit.

“Mark Burnett cannot release the tapes. Period. Even if Mark Burnett wanted to release the tapes, Mark Burnett cannot release the tapes,” a lawyer for M-G-M told Keefe. “These are binding obligations, which means that if M-G-M were to violate them — by releasing footage not just of Trump but of anyone who appeared with him onscreen — the studio could be sued.”

Still rumors of an N-word tape continue to persist and were most recently stoked by former White House aide and Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault, who bluntly declared in her White House tell-all that the N-word tape did exist and that Trump said the word “multiple times” on set. Omarosa has said, however, that she never personally heard Trump say the word and cited three unnamed sources for her explosive claim.

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‘World War Z’ Writer Makes Directing Debut on Fact-Based ‘Mosul,’ Shot in Secret in Morocco

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan (“The Kingdom,” “World War Z”) is making his directorial debut with “Mosul,” a film about a SWAT team’s desperate fight to rid the Iraq city of ISIS militants that shot in secret in Morocco last spring with a local cast.

“Mosul,” for which Carnahan wrote the screenplay, explores the true story of an elite police unit made up almost entirely of native sons of Mosul who fought to liberate the city from 6,000 ISIS militants.

The film is based on a New Yorker story by Luke Mogelson, who embedded with the unit for two months and documented the team’s fight, block by block, to destroy ISIS.

Produced by AGBO and Condé Nast Entertainment, the film was shot on location in Marrakech, Morocco this past spring. The film, shot by Academy Award-winning “Avatar” cinematographer Mauro Fiore, is now in postproduction in Los Angeles.

Also Read: GQ Reporter: Trump Has ‘Radicalized More People Than ISIS Ever Did’ (Video)

“Our writer/director Matthew Michael Carnahan was the perfect artist to depict this uniquely regional story which champions a culture that has never really been championed on screen before,” producers Joe and Anthony Russo said in a statement. “The heart of the movie depicts the innate desire to fight for country and home.”

The Russos said “Mosul” extends their commitment to producing auteur-driven films of social importance.

Anthony and Joe Russo serve as producers for the brothers’ AGBO production shingle, along with the company’s president of production Mike Larocca. Condé Nast Entertainment’s Jeremy Steckler (“The Old Man and the Gun,” “Only the Brave”) will also produce, as well as Spotify’s Dawn Ostroff (“The Old Man and the Gun,” “Only the Brave”).

Also Read: ‘Foxtrot’ Film Review: Israel’s Oscar Entry Doesn’t Dance Around the Complexities of War

Executive producers for “Mosul” are  Todd Makurath, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely for AGBO, along with Mohamed Al-Daradji (“Son of Babylon”), Patrick Newall (Anon) and Wang Zhongjun, Wang Zhonglei and Felice Bee from Huayi Brothers Media.

“Mosul” features a cast drawn from the Middle East, North Africa and the Iraqi diaspora. Producers described it as the flip side of “American Sniper”: these being the soldiers for whom the only way home was by fighting to re-claim it.

Worldwide sales will be represented by Endeavor Content at AFM.

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Ronan Farrow Defends Report On New Kavanaugh Accuser In Testy ‘GMA’ Interview

Read on: Deadline.

Ronan Farrow defended his Sunday night New Yorker report of a second woman alleging sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Grilled on Good Morning America by ABC News Chief Correspondent George Stephanopopulos, Farrow insisted Debo…

White House Press Office Hits Back At New Yorker Story On Brett Kavanaugh

Read on: Deadline.

The White House Press Office has issued a memo attacking the so-called “second woman” accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in the 1980s.
The unusual release by the office attacks certain aspects of the New Yor…

Judd Apatow, Whitney Cummings Slam Logic of Kavanaugh’s 65 Women: ‘Confusing to People?’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

People have expressed their outrage over a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in which 65 women testify that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is a “good person.” The letter, released Friday, came after a women, who remained unidentified, accused Kavanaugh of forcing himself on her sexually while he was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School, an all-boys school in Bethesda, Maryland.

Hollywood figures, including Whitney Cummings and Judd Apatow, argued that the letter from 65 women defied  logic. Cummings wrote, “You can treat 65 women with respect and still sexually assault a woman who wasn’t one of those 65 women.” The comedian and creator of CBS’ “2 Broke Girls” added, “Is this actually confusing to people?”

Apatow used fewer words to make his point: “Cosby was really nice to Oprah. So ?” he added to his retweet of Cummings’ post.

Also Read: Rose McGowan Slams Media for Reducing Her ‘Life’s Work to a Hotel Room Rape’

Cosby was really nice to Oprah. So ? https://t.co/uiauUbGiNn

— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) September 14, 2018

Comedian Matt Oswalt, younger brother of Patton Oswalt, penned a hypothetical situation in which Kavanaugh reaches out to the women who signed the letter:

“Hi, its Brett Kavanaugh, I sat behind you in Algebra.”
“Uhhh–”
“So how have you been?”
“Good I guess, our son graduated from–”
“Super! Say, can I add your name to a list of women I never raped?”
“Uhhh, ok?”
“Great, it’s been wonderful catching up.”
“Who is this again?”
(click)

— Matt Oswalt (@MattOswaltVA) September 14, 2018

Other observers expressed similar sentiments on Twitter about the letter. Many emphasized the coincidence of Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who released the letter, having it at the ready and publishing it after the news of the accusation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh broke. Some suspected that Grassley knew of the accusation and prepared for its fallout.

Also Read: Grace Park on Her ‘Charged’ Exit From ‘Hawaii Five-0’: ‘I’m Good Leaving the Boys’ Club’

“Who among us does not have a ready-made list of 65 women to say you did not rape them in high school,” writer Kate Aronoff said.

“Will and Grace” star Debra Messing echoed the thought:

#BrettKavanaugh went to an all boys high school. Interesting how quickly you got 65 names. It’s almost as though you KNEW about this accusation of sexual assault and tried to hide it. But got prepared with names JUST IN CASE. https://t.co/DAsORfseGn

— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) September 14, 2018

See more responses here:

“A woman has said he raped her in high school.”
“This list of 65 women from his high school say he’s great.”
“Wait, why did you have that list?”
“No reason.”

— Cam Banks (@boymonster) September 14, 2018

1/ This. Regardless of how all this falls out, the fact Grassley had a list of 65 women from Kavanaugh’s high school as character witnesses LINED UP is literally the biggest, dumbest tell that they knew this was coming down the pike. Even wait until Monday, for chrissake. https://t.co/opKijAUBmj

— John Rogers (@jonrog1) September 14, 2018

Let’s pause to appreciate what a complete idiot @ChuckGrassley is.

By releasing the “65 women say Kavanaugh is not a rapist” letter within minutes of Farrow’s story breaking, he proved beyond all doubt his committee sat on the allegation, and planned in advance to cover it up.

— Matthew Chapman (@fawfulfan) September 14, 2018

1. That letter from 65 women who say Kavanaugh did not sexually assault them?

It’s a common tactic.

We’ve seen this movie before.

It’s designed to discredit the accuser(s) but has absolutely no relevance

The fact that GOP is embracing it is telling.

— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 14, 2018

Who among us does not have a ready-made list of 65 women to say you did not rape them in high school

— Kate Aronoff (@KateAronoff) September 14, 2018

The letter begins with the women stating that they have known Kavanaugh for more than 35 years and that “he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect” the entire time. Addressed to Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, it was released just after a New Yorker story was published detailing the accusation against Kavanaugh.

The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow reported that the letter made its way to Feinstein’s office in July, but that the senator did not notify Senate Democratic colleagues about it, stating that “the incident was too distant in the past to merit public discussion.”

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Stephen Colbert Tackles Leslie Moonves’s Ouster In ‘Late Show’ Cold Open

Read on: Deadline.

Stephen Colbert’s Late Show began with a cold open, in which Voiceover Guy tells the audience:
Tonight’s episode of Undercover Boss starring Leslie Moonves, will not be shown. It was accidentally sealed into a stainless steel container which was …

Les Moonves Exits CBS as Board Settles Ugly Legal Fight With National Amusements

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

CBS announced late Sunday that it has reached an agreement with longtime CEO Les Moonves that will see the executive exit the company he has led for the last 15 years, effective immediately.

The CBS board also reached a settlement to end its nasty legal fight with its controlling stakeholder, National Amusements Inc. In May, CBS filed a suit against Shari Redstone and National Amusements, a family-run business that controls roughly 80 percent of the voting power in both CBS and Viacom.

Joe Ianniello, who has served as the company’s COO since 2013, will take over as president and acting CEO, while the board searches for a permanent successor. The Chairman position will remain open pending the appointment of a permanent CEO.

“CBS is an organization of talented and dedicated people who have created one of the most successful media companies in the world. Today’s resolution will benefit all shareholders, allowing us to focus on the business of running CBS – and transforming it for the future. We are confident in Joe’s ability to serve as acting CEO and delighted to welcome our new directors, who bring valuable and diverse expertise and a strong commitment to corporate governance,” said Vice Chair Shari Redstone.

Also Read: Ousted CBS CEO Les Moonves to Get No Severance ‘At This Time,’ Will Donate $20 Million to #MeToo Groups

Lead Independent Director Bruce Gordon said, “We thank Les for his 24 years of service. Among his achievements, he established a strong management team, giving us great confidence as we accelerate our succession plans and provide continuity of leadership. This agreement maintains an independent Board that is charged with determining the best course for the future of CBS on behalf of all shareholders.”

Under the terms of the settlement, which have been approved by the Boards of Directors of CBS and NAI, the parties agreed to dismiss their pending litigation in Delaware. The full Board of CBS (following the unanimous recommendation of the Special Committee of the Board) has unanimously rescinded the previously announced Class A share dividend, and NAI has amended the Bylaws to undo the previous amendments that it adopted following filing of the Delaware litigation.

In addition, NAI confirmed that it has no plans to propose a merger of CBS and Viacom and has agreed that it will make no such proposal for at least two years after the date of the settlement. NAI reaffirmed that it will give good faith consideration to any business combination transaction or other strategic alternative that the independent directors believe are in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders.

Also Read: Rachel Bloom: Les Moonves Should Be Fired ‘Without Getting a F-ing Dollar’

Moonves’ exit comes two months after Ronan Farrow’s bombshell report in the New Yorker, in which six women accused the longtime media mogul of sexual harassment. On Sunday, a new report from Farrow in The New Yorker outlined accusations of sexual assault and harassment from six additional women.

CBS and Moonves argued that Shari Redstone had shirked her duty to shareholders by pushing for a re-merger with Viacom, which CBS saw as potentially harmful to the value of the company.

Moonves and CBS also laid out a plan to issue dividends that would dilute Redstone’s control of the company altogether. A trial was set to begin on Oct. 3.

Also Read: Les Moonves Faces New Misconduct Accusations From 6 Women

In the first story published in July, six women accused Moonves of sexual harassment, with four of them accusing the CEO of forcibly touching or kissing them during business meetings, and two saying he physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers.

The latest report on Sunday included claims that Moonves forced women into unwanted sexual situations, including oral sex, and retaliated when they refused. One veteran television executive, Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, said that Moonves physically assaulted her in addition to coercing her into oral sex in the 1980s. Last year, she filed a report with the LAPD, but while they found her claim to be credible, they could not press charges due to the statute of limitations expiring.

All of the women, including actress and writer Illeana Douglas, told Farrow that they feared retaliation if they spoke out. CBS had initially kept Moonves as CEO while hiring two law firms to investigate the accusations against Moonves as well as the larger culture within the company.

Also Read: If Les Moonves Exits CBS, What Happens to His Crusade Against the Viacom Merger?

Moovnes’ exit ends a 23-year tenure with the company, which started in 1995 when he was named president of CBS Entertainment, joining from Warner Bros. He became chairman in 2003 and was named CEO in 2006, following the split of CBS and Viacom.

Unlike C-suite level executives at other media companies, Moonves was more heavily involved in the day-to-day programming decisions at CBS. During his tenure, CBS has been among the most stable broadcast networks, beating every other network among total viewers for the past 10 years (and 15 of the past 16 years), and spearheaded the launch of CBS All Access, its subscription-based streaming service.

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Les Moonves Faces New Misconduct Accusations From 6 Women

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

As Les Moonves is in talks to exit CBS, six more women have accused him of sexual misconduct, The New Yorker reported Sunday.

The magazine, which first reported on accusations of misconduct against the CBS CEO, said that six additional women are now accusing him “of sexual harassment or assault in incidents that took place between the nineteen-eighties and the early aughts.” Moonves denied any such conduct.

The accusations range from forced oral sex to threats of physical violence if they refused him.

Also Read: If Les Moonves Exits CBS, What Happens to His Crusade Against the Viacom Merger?

Several of the women who spoke to writer Ronan Farrow for the New Yorker piece also voiced their frustration at news reports that Moonves might receive an exit package of $100 million upon his departure from CBS. Writer Jessica Pallington, who said Moonves coerced her into performing oral sex on him while working as his assistant two decades ago, said such an exit package would be “completely disgusting.”

“He should take all that money and give it to an organization that helps survivors of sexual abuse,” she said.

Another accuser, veteran TV executive Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, said she filed a report with the LAPD in the 1980s that Moonves forced her to perform oral sex and later threw her against a wall. While police found her to be credible, they could not move forward on charges because the statute of limitations expired, the New Yorker said.

Also Read: Time’s Up Blasts Expected Les Moonves $100 Million Package: ‘Use This Money’ for Victims

In a statement, Moonves acknowledged consensual relationships decades ago but denied wrongdoing.

“The appalling accusations in this article are untrue. What is true is that I had consensual relations with three of the women some 25 years ago before I came to CBS. And I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women,” Moonves said.

“In my 40 years of work, I have never before heard of such disturbing accusations. I can only surmise they are surfacing now for the first time, decades later, as part of a concerted effort by others to destroy my name, my reputation, and my career. Anyone who knows me knows that the person described in this article is not me.”

CBS and Moonves did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for further comment.

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CBS Board Of Directors Appoints Special Committee To Oversee Les Moonves Investigation

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In a second board meeting in three days, CBS’s directors hired a pair of high-powered law firms to investigate claims of sexual harassment against embattled Chairman and CEO Les Moonves but once again stopped short of putting him on leave while t…

Leslie Moonves Promoted CBS’ “Zero Tolerance Policy” Toward Harassment

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves will find himself held accountable to a “zero tolerance” policy towards sexual harassment that Moonves himself called for in a company-wide email sent to all employees last year.
Deadline got h…

Les Moonves Still CBS CEO But Shareholder Meeting Postponed As Board Seeks Outside Counsel On Misconduct Allegations

Read on: Deadline.

CBS said its Board of Directors is in the process of selecting outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations facing Chairman and CEO Les Moonves.
The board also postponed the annual shareholder meeting, which had been set…

Les Moonves to Remain as CBS CEO Amid Sexual Misconduct Investigation, Board Says

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Leslie Moonves will remain as CEO of CBS Corporation while accusations of sexual misconduct against the Hollywood kingpin are investigated by outside council.

“CBS Corporation announced today that its Board of Directors is in the process of selecting outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation. No other action was taken on this matter at today’s board meeting,” said the company in a statement.

The board meeting — previously scheduled to discuss CBS’s upcoming earnings  — had been forced to redirect its attention after Moonves was accused of forcibly touching and kissing women during business meetings. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ronan Farrow chronicled the accusations in his latest report on Hollywood sexual misconduct for the New Yorker.

Also Read: CBS Stock Drops 4 Percent as Board Weighs Les Moonves’ Future

Additionally, the CBS board postponed its upcoming annual meeting of stockholders that was previously scheduled for Aug. 10. CBS is set to release its second-quarter 2018 earnings on Thursday after the stock market closes. Moonves would ordinarily be part of the afternoon’s accompanying conference call, which includes a Q&A period with media analysts.

In Farrow’s New Yorker story, six women accused Moonves of sexual harassment, with four of them accusing the CEO of forcibly touching or kissing them during business meetings, and two saying he physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers. All of the women, including actress and writer Illeana Douglas, told Farrow that they feared retaliation if they spoke out.

Thirty current and former employees of CBS told Farrow “that such behavior extended from Moonves to important parts of the corporation, including CBS News and ’60 Minutes,’” adding that 19 employees said former chairman of CBS News and current “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager allowed harassment within the network’s news arm.

Also Read: Can Les Moonves Keep His Job at CBS? ‘He’s No Longer Untouchable’

“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,” Moonves said in a statement. “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.”

Hours before the New Yorker published its exposé online, the network said it was opening an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct, though who was being investigated was not mentioned.

The accusations come amid an entrenched legal battle at the company with controlling shareholder Shari Redstone, who had been trying to convince Moonves and CBS to merge with sister company Viacom.

Tony Maglio and Rosemary Rossi contributed to this report. 

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Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Les Moonves is trying to do what few men accused of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era have managed to do: Hold onto his job.

Men from Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey to Matt Lauer to Louis CK have lost high-profile roles and largely left public life since they were accused of wrongdoing. But the CBS CEO will have to fight to hang on to the company he successfully shepherded for 15 years, earning more than $320 million in the last five years alone, experts tell TheWrap.

“This definitely creates a troubling situation for Les, especially considering the precedent that’s been set and how these accusations can often lead to a snowball effect,” said Tuna Amobi, a media analyst at CFRA Research. “Even if he does survive it — and right now I would not bet that he will — his reputation will be significantly tarnished.”

Also Read: Les Moonves Accused by 6 Women of Sexual Harassment

In a New Yorker story Friday, Ronan Farrow detailed accusations from four women who said Moonves forcibly touched or kissed them during business meetings, and two women who said he physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers. All six women, including actress and writer Illeana Douglas and writer Janet Jones, said they feared retaliation if they spoke out.

Moonves, who has been an advocate for the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, said in a statement, “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.” He stressed that he understood and respected that “no means no.”

A CBS insider told TheWrap Friday that Moonves plans to stay on the job while CBS investigates the accusations in the story.

The accusations come as Moonves is locked in a power struggle with Shari Redstone, who is trying to reunite CBS and Viacom. Redstone controls roughly 80 percent of both companies through her family’s holding company, National Amusements.

Also Read: Julie Chen Stands by Husband Les Moonves After Sexual Harassment Accusations: ‘Leslie Is a Good Man’

“There are people in high places who have taken a mighty fall,” said Lloyd Greif, founder and CEO of Greif & Co., an investment banking firm specializing in media and entertainment mergers. “It doesn’t look good for Moonves and, yes, this could very well take him down.”

“If that’s the case, you can assume he’ll get a helping hand from Viacom. They won’t be sad to see him leave,” Greif told TheWrap. “He’s the traffic cop hailing you his hand to stop the merger between the two companies, and the problem with traffic cops is that sometimes they [get] hit by a car.”

Amobi said that if someone as powerful as Weinstein could be forced out of his own company, Moonves should be worried, too.

Farrow said 30 current and former CBS employees told him “that such behavior extended from Moonves to important parts of the corporation, including CBS News and ’60 Minutes.’” Farrow reports that 19 current and former employees said Jeff Fager, the former chairman of CBS News and the current executive producer of “60 Minutes,” allowed harassment within the network’s news arm.

Also Read: Here’s How Many Millions Les Moonves Made in Each of the Last 5 Years

That creates another layer of trouble for CBS, which has vowed to investigate all of the accusations seriously.

“CBS has to do a thorough investigation not just of Les Moonves, but of the entire company,” said Richard Levick, chairman of crisis management firm Levick. “There is no question that he’s weakened. He’s no longer untouchable.”

“Some of the allegations are incredibly graphic, including some very graphic allegations of career ruination. That’s frightening,” Levick said. “I think that makes it go beyond just a misunderstanding or single occurrence; it appears like perpetual activity.”

One top talent agent, who also works with brands on shaping image, was confident Moonves will endure, and marveled at the nuance of his response. The agent said Moonves might benefit from the fact that the accusations are a decade old or more.

Also Read: Les Moonves Accuser Illeana Douglas Says ‘Real Change’ Will Mean More Opportunities for Her at CBS

“The claims are from way long ago, he owned up to making advances but said he abided by ‘no means no,’ and there’s no accused sexual battery or rape,” said the agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Douglas said that her career suffered after she rejected Moonves. But the agent noted that Douglas appeared on CBS and Showtime (which is owned by CBS) after 1997, when she says Moonves held her down and kissed her. That could help Moonves make the case that he didn’t retaliate against her.

“She said her pilot was rejected after she refused him, but she was later cast on a show on the network, which would legally appear as being treated normally or fairly under those provisions,” the agent said.

Also Read: Shari Redstone v. Les Moonves: A Timeline of the Battle for CBS

The Independent Directors of CBS said in a statement Friday that the “current CBS management team” had its full support during the CBS and Viacom litigation:

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. 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 timing of this report comes in the midst of the Company’s very public legal dispute. 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.

Redstone, through NAI, denied what she said was the “malicious insinuation” that she was somehow behind accusations against Moonves. In his story, Farrow says he had been speaking to the accusers since before the CBS and Viacom dispute began.

Also Read: Les Moonves to Stay on the Job During CBS Investigation of Sexual Misconduct Accusations (Update)

Here is Moonves’ complete statement:

Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company. 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. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.

Matt Donnelly contributed to this report. 

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Les Moonves Accuser Illeana Douglas Says ‘Real Change’ Will Mean More Opportunities for Her at CBS

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Actress Illeana Douglas is calling for “real change” after accusing CBS CEO Les Moonves of holding her down and kissing her, then retaliating against her for rejecting his advances. And Douglas says “real change” for her will come when she can “resume the creative and working relationship” she had with CBS “that was so tragically cut short in 1997.”

“Real change will occur when victims of sexual assaults are not stigmatized as whistle blowers, or people with some kind of agenda for coming forward,” she said in a statement to TheWrap Friday, after a New Yorker story written by Ronan Farrow detailed sexual misconduct accusations made against Moonves by Douglas and five other women.

“Real change will occur when opportunities to work at companies where assaults have occurred are no longer condoned. Speaking for myself, real change will occur when I can walk through the front doors of CBS and resume the creative and working relationship that was so tragically cut short in 1997,” she said.

Also Read: Read Illeana Douglas’ Graphic Accusations Against Les Moonves

Douglas shared graphic accusations of sexual misconduct against Moonves in Farrow’s story, in which a total of six women accused him of harassment.

The actress said that during a business meeting with Moonves in 1997, surrounding the CBS series “Queens,” she was pinned down with her arms over her head while Moonves “violently” kissed her.

Moonves admitted to making advances against numerous unnamed women “decades ago,” but said he’s never misused his power to hinder careers.

Also Read: Here’s How Many Millions Les Moonves Made in Each of the Last 5 Years

“In a millisecond, he’s got one arm over me, pinning me,” Douglas told Farrow, who added that Moonves held her down on his office couch.

“What it feels like to have someone hold you down — you can’t breathe, you can’t move,” she said. “The physicality of it was horrendous.”

While addressing script concerns at the meeting, Douglas said, Moonves changed the subject to her relationship status (Douglas had just ended a 10-year relationship with director Martin Scorsese, the New Yorker reported).

Also Read: Julie Chen Stands by Husband Les Moonves After Sexual Harassment Accusations: ‘Leslie Is a Good Man’

At one point Moonves asked to kiss Douglas, she said, telling her, “it’ll just be between you and me. Come on, you’re not some nubile virgin.”

After refusing him, Douglas tried to preserve Moonves’ dignity by flattering him over his kissing style, she said. As she went to exit his office, Douglas said Moonves backed her into a wall and pressed against her.

“He says, ‘We’re going to keep this between you and me, right?’” she said. She agreed.

Also Read: Les Moonves Accused by 6 Women of Sexual Harassment

“It was so invasive,” Douglas added. “It has stayed with me the rest of my life, that terror.”

Douglas said she met Moonves in 1996, as she was shopping for an overall network deal after an award-nominated turn on HBO’s “Six Feet Under.” Moonves offered her a $300,000 fee to write a TV pilot and appear in numerous CBS shows, she said, adding that the arrangement quickly dissolved. She said she lost both her representatives after she rejected the powerful executive.

Following the meeting where the accused harassment took place, Douglas’ life at CBS changed dramatically, she said. Moonves visited the set of “Queens” the following week, the New Yorker reported, and began to complain about her performance. It culminated in a personal call from Moonves to Douglas, the actress said, where she says he told her, “You make me fucking sick. You are not funny.”

Also Read: Ronan Farrow Says Not So Fast on Leslie Moonves Bombshell: ‘Not Getting the Full or Correct Story’

In rapid succession, Douglas said, her agent Patrick Whitesell (the WME Co-CEO was employed by Creative Artists Agency at the time) dropped her from his roster and effectively fired her. Whitesell had no immediate comment on the matter.  Talent manager Melissa Prophet dropped Douglas as a client, as well.

The actress told the New Yorker she was fired by her manager for having burned bridges at CBS. When reached by TheWrap, Prophet said, “The reason I fired her was because of her behavior on set, screaming at me.”

Prophet said a pattern of hostility led to the end of their relationship, though she could not speak to whether this so-called hostility was inspired by events with Moonves. A rep for Douglas declined to comment on Prophet’s statement about the end of their working relationship.

Read Douglas’ full accusations against Moonves at The New Yorker.

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Les Moonves Accused by 6 Women of Sexual Harassment

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Six women accused CBS chief Les Moonves of sexual harassment in a New Yorker story published Friday.

Four women accused the CEO of forcible touching and kissing them, and two said the media mogul threatened to derail their careers. All six women said they feared speaking out would lead to retaliation, said the story, written by Ronan Farrow.

“He has gotten away with it for decades,” writer Janet Jones, one of the accusers cited in the story, said. “And it’s just not O.K.”

Also Read: Shari Redstone Denies ‘Malicious Insinuation’ That She Is Behind Accusations Against Les Moonves

In a statement to the New Yorker, Moonves said:

“Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company. 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. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”

The New Yorker Story also included this statement from CBS:

“CBS is very mindful of all workplace issues and takes each report of misconduct very seriously. We do not believe, however, that the picture of our company created in The New Yorker represents a larger organization that does its best to treat its tens of thousands of employees with dignity and respect. We are seeing vigorous discourse in our country about equality, inclusion, and safety in the workplace, and CBS is committed to being part of the solution to those important issues.”

Also Read: CBS Stock Drops as Sexual Misconduct Story Looms

Earlier Friday, the network said it was opening an investigation into claims of sexual misconduct, in anticipation of the New Yorker piece.

“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 statement said. “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 statement continued: “The timing of this report comes in the midst of the Company’s very public legal dispute. 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.”

Also Read: CBS Stock Drops as Sexual Misconduct Story Looms

Shari Redstone denied the “malicious insinuation” that she is “somehow behind” the accusations of misconduct against Moonves, just after shares of CBS Corp. stock fell nearly 7 percent during intraday trade on Friday.

“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,” a representative for the vice-chairwoman of CBS and Viacom, said in a statement to TheWrap. “Ms. Redstone hopes that the investigation of these allegations is thorough, open and transparent.”

The New Yorker and journalist Farrow rocked the entertainment industry last fall after several women accused Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. The report set off a widespread reckoning against sexual misconduct in the workplace, and propelled the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Weinstein was hit with three sexual assault charges in New York earlier this month.

Also Read: CBS Opens Sexual Misconduct Investigation as New Yorker Story Looms

The specter of a New Yorker story detailing accusations and a culture of sexual misconduct come at a critical time for the company.

Moonves has led CBS into a battle against Redstone for control of the company. CBS sued Redstone, who owns a controlling 80 percent stake in CBS and Viacom, back in May in an attempt to dilute the power Redstone wields over CBS through her family company National Amusements.

Redstone, for a while, had been trying to convince Moonves and CBS to merge with sister company Viacom. The two sides are expected to meet at a hearing regarding the dispute in October.

Read the full New Yorker piece here.

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UPDATED with comment from Shari Redstone
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Media Matters Hires Ex-New Yorker Fact Checker Who Falsely Said ICE Agent Had Nazi Tattoo

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Media Matters for America has hired Talia Lavin, a former fact checker for The New Yorker, less than a month after she left the magazine over a tweet falsely accusing a disabled ICE employee of having a Nazi tattoo.

The liberal media watchdog group will employ Lavin as a researcher on far-right extremism, she said Friday in a tweet.

“Some personal news: I’m delighted to be joining Media Matters (@mmfa) next week as a researcher on far-right extremism and the alt-right, part of a brand-new team,” she wrote. “I’ll be working full-time with some of the smartest, most passionate people in media right now and I’m psyched.”

Also Read: NY Times Sean Hannity Profile Slammed by Media Group: ‘They’re Trying to Normalize Him’

Some personal news: I’m delighted to be joining Media Matters (@mmfa) next week as a researcher on far-right extremism and the alt-right, part of a brand-new team. I’ll be working full-time with some of the smartest, most passionate people in media right now and I’m psyched.

— Talia Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) July 20, 2018

Media Matters chief Angelo Carusone did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

After three years at The New Yorker as fact checker, Lavin tendered her resignation days after an creating an online firestorm when she falsely accused Justin Gaertner, a wheelchair-bound ICE agent, of having a Nazi Iron Cross tattoo over his left elbow.

She deleted the tweet a short time later after several people pointed out that the tattoo looked more like a Maltese Cross, a symboy used by members of the U.S. Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“Some vets said this ICE agent’s tattoo looked more like a Maltese cross than an Iron Cross (common among white supremacists), so i deleted my tweet so as not to spread misinformation,” she said in an early attempt to diffuse the matter.

some vets said this ICE agent’s tattoo looked more like a Maltese cross than an Iron Cross (common among white supremacists), so i deleted my tweet so as not to spread misinformation pic.twitter.com/xaR6bqzSoP

— Talia Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) June 18, 2018

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The clarification, however, did not prevent the story from exploding, with Lavin herself earning a personal rebuke from ICE, which also demanded an apology from her and the New Yorker.

“Over the weekend, social media perpetuated by a tweet by New Yorker reporter Talia Levin [sic] erroneously implied that a tattoo on one of this arms was an Iron Cross and essentially labeled him a Nazi,” the agency said. “Anyone attempting to advance their personal political opinions by baselessly slandering an American hero should be issuing public apologies to Mr. Gaertner and retractions. This includes Levin [sic] and the New Yorker.”

Read the full ICE statement regarding erroneous attacks on ICE employee for #military tattoo: pic.twitter.com/BwA8kFWNFV

– ICE (@ICEgov) June 18, 2018

The agency also corrected the record on the tattoo itself saying it was “the symbol for his platoon while he fought in Afghanistan. The writing on his right arm is the Spartan Creed which is about protecting family and children.”

Per Gaertner, the tattoo on his left elbow is “Titan 2,” the symbol for his platoon while he fought in Afghanistan. The writing on his right arm is the Spartan Creed which is about protecting family and children. pic.twitter.com/qs8H3tkd6l

– ICE (@ICEgov) June 18, 2018

Also Read: ‘Morning Joe’: Donny Deutsch Compares Trump Voters to Nazis

Lavin herself did issue an apology to Gaertner in a lengthy Twitter thread that also chided ICE for attacking her personally and announced her resignation from The New Yorker.

“This has been a wild and difficult week. I owe ICE agent Justin Gaertner a sincere apology for spreading an rumor about his tattoo,” she said. “However, I do not think it is acceptable for a federal agency to target a private citizen for a good faith, hastily rectified error.”

This has been a wild and difficult week.
I owe ICE agent Justin Gaertner a sincere apology for spreading an rumor about his tattoo.
However, I do not think it is acceptable for a federal agency to target a private citizen for a good faith, hastily rectified error.

— Talia Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) June 21, 2018

The furor also prompted the New Yorker to distance itself from Lavin. “The personal social-media accounts of staff members do not represent the magazine, and we in no way share the viewpoint expressed in this tweet,” a spokesperson told National Review. “The tweet has been deleted, and we deeply regret any harm that this may have caused Mr. Gaertner.”

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