The University’s role amidst Moonves’ confirmed allegations

Jacob Feuerstein, Contributing Writer

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In this month’s issue of “The New Yorker,” journalist Ronan Farrow published an exposé detailing allegations of the abuse, harassment, and intimidation of six women, allegedly committed by CEO of CBS Corporation and University alum Leslie Moonves ’71, with some allegations dating as far back as 1980. These allegations were confirmed by Moonves himself, as he admitted there were times when he may have, “made some women uncomfortable by making advances.” According to the Los Angeles Times, “CBS board members learned several months ago that the Los Angeles Police Department had investigated an alleged sexual assault by CBS Chairman and Chief Executive Leslie Moonves.”

If Farrow’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he gained notoriety in the #MeToo movement for reporting sexual harassment and misconduct allegations towards Harvey Weinstein. These reports led to Weinstein’s ousting from his production company, The Weinstein Company, and widespread condemnation. However, something is decidedly different about the public’s reaction to the allegations against Moonves. CBS has opened its own investigation into the allegations, and Moonves has not been fired or even publicly reprimanded for his actions despite his misdeeds.

Fatigue from the movement is certainly not the answer. The #MeToo movement has given women the opportunity to come out with their stories of harassment and as a result, dozens of powerful men have been fired from their positions as CEOs, producers, actors, or singers. Additionally, this year we will see the largest number of female candidates on November’s election ballot than we have ever seen before. Clearly, there is a dramatic push to put more women into office and hold men accountable for their actions, regardless of their wealth or power. So, why is Moonves such a glaring exception to the pattern of #MeToo?

Likely, it has something to do with Moonves’ value to CBS. In fact, he is credited with saving the company. Since he became CEO in February 2016, the stock price of CBS has increased dramatically and he has been able to start a number of very popular shows on the network including “The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS.”

The University’s official reaction has been vague at best. Before the publication of the article in “The New Yorker,” President John Bravman sent an email to those associated with the school determinately stating that “sexual misconduct is unacceptable—on campus or beyond, and Bucknell will not stand for such behavior.” Since the publication of the article, articles about Moonves on the University’s website have been taken down. However, some references to Moonves still remain accessible on the website and according to local radio station WKOK, a University spokesperson said that the institution had no comment about Moonves’ actions. This begs the question: by scrubbing the University website of references to Moonves and not publicly condemning his actions, is the University continuing to support him (albeit more quietly than before) despite his reported and admitted sexual misconduct?

If the answer is no, the University must publicly affirm its support for his victims, denounce his actions, and, if the result of the CBS inquiry reaffirms the allegations in Farrow’s article, strip his name from all University associated assets.

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