Rachel Abrams has a piece in the NY Times about problems with the investigations CBS ordered after #MeToo allegations brought down Les Moonves, Jeff Fager, and Charlie Rose. Abrams explains how the company has handcuffed itself.
For instance, it forced several women who agreed to settlements to sign non-disclosure agreements, which prevents them from now discussing the circumstances of what happened to them and who was at fault. It also hired a law firm to investigate those claims that did such a shoddy job it was replaced four months later by another law firm. It and its partners have ties to CBS — including one who “had defended the network against allegations of discrimination, retaliation or harassment in at least three lawsuits.” Doesn’t sound very independent to me.
Some current and former CBS News employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, questioned Proskauer Rose’s approach. They said they were not contacted by investigators, although they had worked closely with Mr. Rose or had other reasons to speak authoritatively about women who worked in the news division.
The “investigation” was then handed to still another two law firms — both of which also have histories with CBS or its sister company, Viacom — which raises the question, Why are lawyers being hired to investigate these matters in the first place? Why not hire, oh, I don’t know, actual investigators? Somewhere in America, there must be large private eye firms with no connection to CBS (or its current and former employees) which could conduct unbiased inquiries.
Meanwhile, CBS says the lawyers looking into all of this are expected to complete their report in the next couple of months, and then the board of directors will decide what action to take “no later than January 31st.” Why have a deadline? What if it takes more time? CBS seems to be following the GOP Senate’s model, in which the FBI was given a week to do a thorough follow-up investigation into Brett Kavanaugh and his accusers, but failed to contact several of the women who made claims against him and potential witnesses, too. I bet that, like in that case, there will be no transparency, no sharing with the public the results of the investigation, but rather a sweeping-under-the-rug to avoid more public embarrassment.
Then there’s the matter of what kind of severance package Moonves will get — possibly as high as $120 million! At the same time, there are questions about why Google gave a $90 million exit package to Andy Rubin, inventor of Android mobile software, even after it concluded that a misconduct claim against him was credible.
No wonder women who have had to endure harassment (and worse) in the workplace have kept quiet about it for so long. Even when the light of day is shone upon these men and their actions, they still walk away with huge sums of money, while the corporations behind them engage in cover-ups and shady “investigations” into what they did.