Sunday, November 25, 2018

Leslie Moonves: CEO's and Sex Scandals (2018)

CBS was founded by Arthur Judson in 1927. Unable to find work, Judson created his own network which combined with another to finally be signed on as the Columbia Broadcasting System in 1929, after being bought out by William S. Paley. Programming was free to the large audiences and by 1970 they were airing infamous shows such as M*A*S*H, 60 Minutes and All in the Family. The company developed itself to gain the interests of all generations of the country.

CBS Company Logo
The company has developed immensely as a result of their hard work and dedication that led them to a growth in various forms of entertainment. They offer viewers a choice of CBS media in Publishing, Local Media, Cable TV, TV Network, and internet based businesses. CBS is one of the largest mass media companies in America. They have continued their growth in the new generation, as well as in older generations, with their consistent development of TV shows aiming to all audiences. Until recently, there were not a lot of complaints of the values and intentions of the company, and then came Leslie Moonves.  

Leslie Moonves, Former CEO of CBS 
Over the past few decades rumors of sexual misconduct were presented to the staff at CBS, but many were without reliable support to back them up. A New Yorker story, written by Ronan Farrow, attacks Moonves with the claims that he “forced oral sex, exposed himself, committed violent acts." Many people knew of the allegations against Moonves, but they were deemed inadmissible due to the fact that they had fallen out of the statute of limitations. Moonves is finally under review by the company as they decide whether he will receive a settlement for his step down. As of now, he is looking to receive at least 100 million dollars, or nothing at all. This decision, made by the company, could change the way people view CBS. This is not in consideration of the many women affected by Moonves’ decision, or in the company’s best interest. Moonves acknowledged his past actions, and now more women have come forward to bring his true character into light. If he had done it in the past, it is possible he is still doing it today. The position Moonves held gave him an advantage over aspiring women in the work force. He also did not see a reason to hide from the publicity. 

Individualists would view CBS as unethical. An individualist’s perspective states that business should maximize profits for a company, but do so within the law. The publicity of the Leslie Moonves scandal created a poor image of the company, and the way the company handled the allegations created potential long term damage of viewers. The actions of the company to not fire Moonves, but rather let him resign from his position, created criticism from Americans. This is considered ethically
News Clip of the Resignation of Moonves
wrong from an individualist perspective because in doing this the company lost profit. Viewers are boycotting CBS for their negligence to the stakeholder, and they will continue to lose money as viewer rates decrease. Moonves went against the code of conduct of the business when he used his position to negotiate sexual favors from women. He abused his power and caused the company to lose profits as a result of his actions. The main values of an individualist’s perspective is to maximize the profits for the owners. In the case of Moonves, individualist would say it is ethically wrong because it not only goes against the company’s code of conduct, but it also caused a loss for the owners of the company. 

A Utilitarian perspective would also evaluate the Moonves case as ethically wrong. A utilitarian belief states that business actions should aim to maximize the happiness in the long run for all
CBS Newscasters Discussing the Moonves Settlement
scandals. The consequences of the Moonves case are causing the Stakeholders pain, they are not happy. 
CBS as a company is not following the utilitarian code due to the fact that they are considering giving Moonves a settlement. This decision, if it is agreed to, will make the stakeholders feel as if they lost, and Moonves will get paid out by the company. When coming to a decision on giving Moonves a settlement, the company should follow the utilitarian perspective. They will need to consider the risks to the stakeholders; They will be humiliated if the company decides to grant Moonves a settlement, on top of the pain they are already feeling as a result of the actions of Moonves. 

A Kantian theorist would be concerned with the process CBS took in handling the case of Moonves. They would look into the way the company took action in their own hands, and made a statement declaring their full corporation with the investigation. It is considering the actions of the company, and if they are using rational decision making in the process. The company did not cause the victims harm, it was an individual in the company that did this. When the case became public, CBS tried to do everything in their power to inform viewers that they would corporate, and they also did not lie to protect their employee. They were acting with honesty and acknowledgment of the allegations. This case also passes the Categorical Imperative test of the Formulation of Humanity. This test states that it is wrong to use someone to get what you want; CBS did not use anyone as a mere means, and therefore, it is morally acceptable. CBS was acting ethical under Kantianism because they spoke out and informed their viewers of the any information, and their stance on the case. 

There are four main virtues that are followed under virtue theory: Honesty, temperance, courage and justice. The company was being honest with the corporation when discussing the case through the media. They showed temperance with their control to handle the allegations with no blame to the victims. They showed courage as they continued to air their program, and not let the loss of viewers scare them. Finally, the company is showing justice as they are not putting the blame on one individual or another. They are keeping everything fair until it is all settled. 

CBS did not violate any virtues necessary to judge one’s character. They aimed to comfort the public with their response of the issue and their cooperation with the scandal. They did not lie to the public, and they acted in good character when they gave their response with honesty. They are trying to regain the trust of their viewers and they continue to show that they are aiming to act ethical under virtue theory. 

These facts and analyses are based on an original research paper by Emily Sajdak, "Leslie Moonves: CEO's and Sex Scandals" 


About CBS Corporation. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Farrow, R. (2018, September 10). Leslie Moonves Steps Down from CBS, After Six Women Raise New Assault and Harassment Claims. Retrieved from

Folkenflik, D. (2018, July 28). Report Details Sexual Harassment Allegations Against CBS CEO Les Moonves. Retrieved from

Hagey, K., & Flint, J. (2018, September 11). CBS's Handling of Les Moonves Accusations Hampered by Battle for Control. Retrieved from

Introduction – CBS Corporation. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Keveney, B. (2018, September 10). CBS CEO Les Moonves becomes most powerful media exec to resign in wake of #MeToo. Retrieved from

McDermott, M. (2018, October 02). Illeana Douglas: Les Moonves called my sexual assault 'a lot of fun'. Retrieved from

Salazar, Heather. The Business Ethics Case Manual. n.d.

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