Les Moonves could still walk away with $120 million

Image: CBS chairman Moonves arrives for "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
CBS chairman Les Moonves arrives for "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York on Sept. 8, 2015. Copyright Brendan McDermid Reuters file
By Claire Atkinson with NBC News U.S. News
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Because of a confidentiality clause, the results of the investigation into allegations against Moonves may never be revealed.


Leslie Moonves is no longer chief executive of CBS, but he's not done with the company just yet.

Moonves is to remain as an unpaid advisor to CBS as part of his termination agreement, while a prospective $120 million payout will be put in a holdover trust pending the results of an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against him, according to a corporate filing released on Monday.

However, because of a confidentiality clause, the results of the the investigation may never be revealed. The company will be required to disclose any payouts to Wall Street investors if they are material, but it appears to remain a question as to whether a report about the investigation will ever be released.

According to the separation agreement filed on Monday, CBS has agreed to "seek to preserve the confidentiality of all written and oral reports by the investigators in the Internal Investigation, and all information and findings developed by the investigators or included in such written or oral reports in relation to Executive."

Moonves and CBS agreed to allocate $20 million of Moonves' $140 million payout for #Metoo causes, according to the filing. While still a sizable payout, it is far lass than the $280 million his employment contract had entitled him to.

Moonves' exit on Sunday night came shortly after The New Yorker published a second article investigating the powerful TV executive's past. In the article, six additional women accused Moonves on the record of sexual harassment or assault. The new allegations against Moonves date from the 1980's to the 2000's, and The New Yorker says it corroborated their stories.

Moonves issued a statement rebutting the new accusations against him: "Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am."

Moonves was replaced by Joseph Ianniello, who released a memo to CBS staff on Monday in which he stated a commitment to a safe working environment.

"At the core of any company is its culture," Ianniello wrote in the memo. "And never has it been more important for us to make it abundantly clear that CBS has a steadfast commitment to diversity, inclusion and a safe and positive working environment."

The departure of Moonves does not put an end to harassment claims at CBS.

Jeff Fager, executive producer of CBS News' "60 Minutes," also faces sexual harassment and misconduct claims, including a new accusation published Sunday by The New Yorker. Fager has denied the allegations.

Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of women's advocacy group UltraViolet, called for action to be taken against Fager.

"If CBS plans to take sexual harassment and assault allegations seriously, they will need to conduct a thorough review of their sexual harassment prevention and reporting policies - and that will start with firing Fager," Thomas said in a statement on Monday.

Meanwhile, some CBS employees are finding it hard to wrestle with the situation since Moonves commanded intense loyalty from his staff at all levels. They are now left with an uneasy feeling in his absence, said one person familiar with conversations.

A CBS News spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

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