Leslie Moonves sought to keep sexual assault claim quiet with jobs for actors, manager: report

Former CBS Corp. chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves tried to buy the silence of an actor and her manager about a decades-old sexual assault claim by arranging for the woman to be cast in a CBS series, according to a report published Wednesday by the New York Times.

The revelation that Moonves pushed CBS executives to find work for actress Bobbie Phillips and other clients of manager Marv Dauer was key in convincing the CBS board of directors that Moonves had to forced out of his job, according to the report.

The publication of the damning allegations will only add to the pressure on CBS to deny Moonves any of the $120 million severance that is on the line following his ouster on Sept. 9.

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Leslie Moonves through his career
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Leslie Moonves through his career
CA.Moonves.1.0731.RG �� CBS President Leslie Moonves at CBS studios, Wednesday, July 30, 1996. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Television executive Leslie Moonves and wife Nancy Wiesenfeld attend the 49th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 14, 1997 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - MAY 6: Television executive Leslie Moonves attends the 'Chicago' Opening Night Performance on May 6, 1998 at the Ahmanson Theatre, Music Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
UNITED STATES - MAY 04: Mayor Rudy Giuliani is flanked by CBS President Leslie Moonves (left) and Donald Trump at news conference at the GM Building, where CBS announced that Bryant Gumbel will be the host of its new morning news program, 'This Morning.' Show, to be launched Nov. 1, will broadcast from Trump's International Plaza Building., (Photo by Andrew Savulich/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
E367122 18: Leslie Moonves of CBS attends The Variety/Schroders Big Picture Media Conference, April 4, 2000 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. (Photo by Robin Platzer)
President and CEO of CBS Leslie Moonves atThe Front Row conference on the business of media and entertainment in New York City, New York on Tuesday February 27, 2001. photo by Gabe Palacio/Getty Images
NEW YORK CITY - MAY 15: Television executive Leslie Moonves attends the CBS Upront Party on May 15, 2001 at the Tavern on the Green in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Leslie Moonves and Ted Danson at The Museum of Television and Radio's annual Los Angeles gala to honor Ted Danson and Dick Wolf at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Ca. Sunday, Sept. 29, 2002. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.
Leslie Moonves during Television Critics Association UPN Day - Arrivals at Renissance Hotel in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage)
Leslie Moonves, CEO and Chairman CBS during 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation' Fourth Season Premiere Screening at Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage)
George Lopez and Leslie Moonves, co-president of Viacom (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 2: Television personality Julie Chen (L) and her husband President and CEO of CBS Leslie Moonves arrive at the 30th Annual Kennedy Center Honors December 2, 2007 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nancy Ostertag/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 16: President and CEO of CBS Corp. Leslie Moonves arrives at the launch party for the video game 'Fallout: New Vegas' at the Rain Nightclub inside the Palms Casino Resort October 16, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corp., speaks during the "Outlook for the Entertainment Industry" panel at the 2009 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California April 29, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten (UNITED STATES BUSINESS ENTERTAINMENT HEADSHOT MEDIA)
(L-R) TV personality Julie Chen and President and CEO of CBS Corporation Leslie Moonves attend the Vanity Fair party during the 8th annual Tribeca Film Festival at the State Supreme Courthouse on April 21, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Leslie Moonves attends The Hollywood Radio & Television Society presents 'A Conversation with Leslie Moonves' at The Beverly Hilton hotel on November 17, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Brian To/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation attends Loews Regency Hotel Power Breakfast Event at the Loews Regency Hotel on December 12, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 14: President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation Leslie Moonves attends the 18th Annual Hollywood Film Awards at The Palladium on November 14, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: President and CEO of CBS Corporation Leslie Moonves attends the 2014 God's Love We Deliver Golden Heart Awards at Spring Studios on October 16, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Leslie Moonves attends the closing night gala screening of 'Patriots Day' at the 2016 AFI Fest at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 17, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 14: Leslie Moonves is pictured at the Boston premiere of the movie 'Patriots Day' at the Boch Center Wang Theatre in Boston on Dec. 14, 2016. He is Chairman of the Board, President & CEO of CBS Corp. (Photo by John Blanding/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
SUN VALLEY, ID - JULY 11: (L-R) Julie Chen and Leslie 'Les' Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Corporation, arrive for a morning session of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 11, 2018 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Every July, some of the world's most wealthy and powerful businesspeople from the media, finance, technology and political spheres converge at the Sun Valley Resort for the exclusive weeklong conference. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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CBS is investigating claims about Moonves’ conduct during his 23-year tenure at the company. That probe is expected to be concluded by Jan. 31, if not sooner.

Representatives for Moonves could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokesman for CBS declined to comment.

The Times report alleges that Moonves assaulted Phillips during a meeting in March 1995 when Moonves was president of Warner Bros. Television. Moonves, per the report, has told investigators who are in the midst of a probe into his conduct at CBS that the sexual encounter with Phillips was consensual.

Moonves was forced out after the publication in the New Yorker of two exposes with detailed sexual harassment and assault allegations against Moonves. Dauer approached Moonves late last year to alert him that a reporter for the New York Times was trying to reach him regarding sexual misconduct allegations. Dauer told the Times that he was aware that Phillips had a disturbing incident in 1995 with Moonves.

87 PHOTOS
High-profile men accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct
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High-profile men accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein is accused of sexually assaulting or harassing dozens of women, including a number of well-known celebrities, over the past several decades.

(REUTERS/Gus Ruelas)

Matt Lauer was fired from 'Today' after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct that allegedly included giving a co-worker a sex toy and dropping his pants in front of a female employee in his office.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Actor Jeffrey Tambor has been accused of sexual assault by two women from the Amazon series, "Transparent."  

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Eleven women have come forward accusing President Donald Trump of unwanted touching or kissing. Trump has called the sexual harassment claims 'fake news.'

(Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

 CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves resigned from the company, the company said on Sunday, amid allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

(Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx)

Sen. Al Franken is accused of kissing and groping a woman without her consent during a United Service Organizations (USO) tour in 2006.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Director Woody Allen has been accused of sexual assault by his daughter, Dylan Farrow. She says she experienced inappropriate behavior by her adoptive father on several occasions.

(REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

Hundreds of women accused longtime Hollywood writer and director James Toback of sexual harassment.

(TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

Comedian Louis C.K. has been accused of forcing women to watch him masturbate, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Director Bret Ratner has been accused of sexual harassment by several women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge.

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Actor Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of making a sexual advance towards him when he was 14 years old.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Roger Ailes, the former president of Fox News Channel, was accused of sexually harassing former anchor Gretchen Carlson and several other women from the network.

(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Several women accused TV host Charlie Rose of sexual misconduct, including groping and lewd phone calls.

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Bill Cosby has faced sexual assault allegations from about 60 women, including several women who claim he drugged them.

(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

Four women, including several that were also fellow Scientologists, have accused actor Danny Masterson of sexual assault, according to HuffPost.

 (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Mark Schwahn, the former "One Tree Hill" showrunner, was accused of sexual harassment by a large number of the show's cast and crew.

(Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)

Roy Moore faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with underaged girls.

(REUTERS/Marvin Gentry)

Bill Clinton faced numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct while he was president of the United States, with accusers including Juanita Broaddrick, who accused him of rape, Kathleen Willey who said he groped her and Paula Jones who said he exposed himself to her without consent.

(Photo by Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

Actor Casey Affleck settled lawsuits out of court wth two women who accused him of sexual harassment.  

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Film Independent)

Bill O'Reilly has reportedly made numerous settlements with women who accused him of sexual harassment.

(Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Anthony Weiner, a former Democratic congressman was sentenced to 21 months in prison in September 2017 after pleading guilty to sexting a teenage girl.

(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Veteran journalist Mark Halperin has been accused of sexually harassing women while he worked at ABC News.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Singer R. Kelly is accused of holding women against their will in houses in Illinois and Georgia in a reported 'sex cult.'

(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Former Fox Host Eric Bolling was accused of sending unsolicited lewd text messages to female colleagues.

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Director Roman Polanski fled the US after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Several other women have also come forward to accuse him of sexual assault.

(REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

Chef John Besh stepped down from the company he founded after female employees reported facing sexual harassment there. 

(Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

Photographer Terry Richardson was labeled the 'Harvey Weinstein of Fashion' by the Sunday Times amid widespread accusations of sexual harassment by models.

(Photo by Eugene Gologursky/WireImage)

Singer Kesha accused Lukasz Gottwald aka Dr. Luke of drugging and sexually assaulting her on multiple occasions.

(Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

Former champion boxer Mike Tyson was convicted of raping a Miss Black America contestant in 1992. 

(REUTERS/Michael Clevenger/POOL)

Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has been accused of sexual abuse by dozens of his former patients and athletes.

(JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Music mogul L.A. Reid left his position as Epic Records CEO/Chairman in 2017 amid harassment claims by a female assistant.

(Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Amazon Studios chief Roy Price resigned following reports that he harassed a producer and ignored an actress' allegation of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein.

(Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)

Several women have accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping them during photo ops.

(REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Chris Savino (right), creator of  'The Loud House' was suspended by Nickelodeon after being accused of making unwanted advances toward multiple women.

(Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SCAD)

Actor Steven Seagal was accused of sexual misconduct by Inside Edition's chief investigative correspondent Lisa Guerrero.

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images,)

Michael Oreskes, senior vice president of news and editorial director of National Public Radio, was accused of inappropriate conduct with two women in 1990s.

(REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad)

Dustin Hoffman was accused of sexually harassing a production assistant when he was 48 and she was a high school senior.

(REUTERS/Stephane Mahe)

Jeremy Piven was accused by actress Ariane Bellamar of groping her on two separate occasions. Piven 'unequivocally' denied the allegations.

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Ben Affleck apologized for acting 'inappropriately' towards Hilarie Burton during an appearance on MTV's "Total Request Live" in 2003.

(REUTER/Dylan Martinez

Aziz Ansari was accused of sexual misconduct by a woman he went on a date with.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Andy Dick was accused of sexual harassment and misconduct on set, including groping people’s genitals, unwanted kissing/licking and sexual propositions.

(Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, (D) Nevada, was accused of making repeated, unwanted propositions for dates and sex to a woman that once worked on his campaign.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Actor Ed Westwick was accused by actress Kristina Cohen of raping her in his home.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

David Guillod, producer of 'Atomic Blonde,' is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting several woman.

(Photo by Jennifer Lourie/Getty Images)

Andrew Kreisberg, the showrunner for "Supergirl," was suspended in November 2017 amid numerous sexual harassment allegations by members of his staff.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Actor Tom Sizemore was reportedly told to leave a film set in 2003 after an 11-year-old actress told her mother that he had touched her genitals.

(REUTERS/Phil McCarten)

Steve Jurvetson left his own venture capital firm after allegations of sexual harassment

(Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

A former model accused George Takei of sexually assaulting him 36 years ago.

(Photo by Tara Ziemba/FilmMagic)

Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo accused former FIFA president Sepp Blatter of sexually assaulted her at an award ceremony in 2013.

(REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

A former writer for 'Mad Men' said the show's creator Matthew Weiner told her that she owed it to him to let him see her naked.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Ron Jeremy has been accused of sexually assaulting more than a dozen women and the allegations span more than 30 years.

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Multiple women accused producer Adam Fields of touching them inappropriately and sexually propositioning them.

(Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has been accused of unwanted sexual advances by former staffers.

(Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

John Lasseter, the head of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, was accused of crossing the line with employees, including unwanted hugs.

(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

Singer Nick Carter was accused of rape by a former member of the all-girl teen band Dream, Melissa Schuman.

(Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)

A singer accused billionaire Richard Branson of sexual assault during an event as his Necker Island in the Caribbean. Branson says he has no recollection of the matter.

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Talent agent Adam Venit is accused of grabbing actor Terry Crews' genitals.

(Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Jeordie White (aka Twiggy Ramirez), Marilyn Manson former longtime bassist, was accused of rape by singer Jessicka Addams.

(Photo by Chris Weeks/WireImage for Bragman Nyman Cafarelli)

Lockhart Steele, Vox Media's editorial director was fired after a former employee accused him of sexual harassment.

(Photo by Hal Horowitz/WireImage for Haute Magazine)

Producer Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein's brother, has also been accused of sexual harassment. 

(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)

Jesse Lacey of  the band, Brand New, was accused of sexual misconduct, including soliciting nude photos from a teen girl in the past.

(Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Redferns)

Senior Correspondent for E! News Ken Baker California was accused of sexual harassment by two women.

(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

American film director Oliver Stone was accused of groping model and actress Carrie Stevens in the 1990s.

(Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)

Reporter Glenn Thrush was suspended by the New York Times after several women accused him of acting inappropriately when they were young journalists.

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Veteran radio host Garrison Keillor was fired by Minnesota Public Radio following claim of improper behavior.

(Photo by Al Pereira/WireImage)

CNN producer Teddy Davis was fired after multiple accusations of harassment.

(Photo via Twitter)

Producer Russell Simmons stepped down from his companies following sexual assault and harassment accusations from two women.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Longtime conductor James Levine was suspended by New York's Metropolitan Opera after sexual abuse claims.

(Photo by Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images)

Dylan Howard, editor in chief of the National Enquirer, was accused of sexual misconduct by several former employees, including forcing them to watch porn and openly discussing his sexual partners.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

"X-Men" director Bryan Singer was accused of raping a 17-year-old boy on a yacht in a lawsuit filed in December.

(REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

Harold Ford, Jr.

(Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Chef Mario Batali has been accused by multiple women of "inappropriate touching in a pattern of behavior that spans at least two decades."

(Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley's show was suspended amid misconduct allegations made against him.

(REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb was fired from his job as an ESPN contributor amid accusations of sexual harassment by a wardrobe stylist at the network.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Sen. Jeff Klein (D-New York), was accused of forcibly kissing a former female staffer back in 2015. 

(Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)

Ross Levinsohn, Los Angeles Times CEO and publisher, has reportedly been a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits and would rate the "hotness" of his female colleagues, according to a report by NPR.

(Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A woman accused magician David Copperfield of drugging, sexually assaulting her when she was teen model in the 80s, according to The Wrap.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

James Franco was accused by several women of sexually inappropriate behavior. He was also criticized for wearing a "Time's Up" pin to the Golden Globes hours before the accusations against him surfaced.

(Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Barry Lubin, also known as Grandma the clown, resigned from Big Apple Circus after admitting to pressuring a 16-year-old girl into posing for pornographic photos in 2004.

(Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Arizona Wildcats head football coach Rich Rodriguez was fired amid troubling off-field allegations. His former administrative assistant says Rodriguez inappropriately grabbed and touched her. 

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

President Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was accused of sexual assault by pro-Trump singer Joy Villa. She claims he hit her on the buttocks during an event at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

(Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of peple. The Wall Street Journal the casino mogul regularly pressured employees to perform sex acts.

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Music exec and 'The Four' judge Charlie Walk was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee. Life Lab founder Tristan Coopersmith penned an open letter about Walk in January claiming he sent her lewd comment and cornered her in the bedroom he shared with his wife.

(Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images for Vh1 Save The Music)

Several women filed sexual harassment complaints against Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle, according to the Washington Post.

(Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Actor Scott Baio, was accused of molesting is former 'Charles in Charge' co-star Nicole Eggert when she was a minor.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Paris Dennard, GOP commentator

(Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Ryan Adams performs at the Marriott Rewards and Universal Music Present Music is Universal during the South by Southwest Music Festival at JW Marriott Austin on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP)
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After Dauer approached Moonves, the two began to discuss an effort to keep Phillips quiet by offering her acting work. She was ultimately offered a small part in the drama series “Blood and Treasure,” which she declined, according to the Times. Moonves pressed CBS casting executives to consider other clients of Dauer’s, despite the manager’s modest status in the industry.

Dauer told the Times that Moonves asked him to delete their lengthy text message correspondence and to not send him emails lest his CBS secretary read them. According to Dauer’s account, Moonves told him in August, shortly before he was ousted: “If Bobbie talks, I’m finished.” Phillips was not one of the women who spoke out with allegations against Moonves in stories published in July and September by investigative reporter Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker.

Phillips described the encounter to the Times as Moonves physically to force her to perform oral sex on him after he exposed himself to her. “Be my girlfriend and I’ll put you on any show,” Phillips said that he told her at the time before grabbing her neck, pushing her down on her knees and forcing his penis into her mouth.

The emergence of more troubling allegations against Moonves is the latest example of a once-powerful entertainment industry figure brought down by sexual assault allegations. The allegations that Moonves sought to use his clout to secure the silence of an actor is another sign that for prominent figures in entertainment, abuse of power, confidential settlements and payouts have been commonplace tools to keep sexual misconduct claims from surfacing.

The exposes of the past 14 months of such powerful executives as Moonves and former Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein, who is now facing criminal charges in New York, have put significant pressure on companies to combat harassment in the workplace and curtail the use of settlements. Fueled by the outpouring of sexual harassment claims, legislative efforts are under way in numerous states to toughen the rules regarding workplace conduct, the use of arbitration in employment contracts and the use of non-disclosure agreements.

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