CBS Taking Steps to Probe Harassment Claims, Moonves Ally Says

(Bloomberg) -- CBS Corp. investigates all allegations of sexual harassment and is striving to foster a safe and collaborative workplace, the company’s head of entertainment said Sunday, rebutting recent reports about a corporate culture that’s said to be hostile toward women.

CBS Taking Steps to Probe Harassment Claims, Moonves Ally Says

Kelly Kahl spoke to a room filled with reporters and TV critics just over a week after his boss, Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves, was accused of sexual harassment by six women. He has worked at CBS for two decades and is one the staunchest allies of Moonves, who is now the subject of an investigation being conducted by two outside law firms.

“All allegations need to be and are being taken seriously,’’ Kahl said at a gathering of the Television Critics Association in Beverly Hills, California. “I believe we take workplace safety very seriously. If you look up and down the halls at CBS, you’ll find a very safe environment.’’

Kahl defended the way the company has handled a range of complaints, including those against executives in its news division and producers of hit TV shows. The company has investigated allegations whenever they’ve been brought forward, Kahl said.

Several female colleagues approached Kahl recently to express dismay over stories in the press, he said. At least two high-ranking female executives at CBS have defended Moonves and the company in public statements since the allegations surfaced.

CBS last week hired two law firms to investigate sexual harassment allegations against Moonves that were raised July 27 in a New Yorker story. Moonves, in the article, acknowledged there were times decades ago when he may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances, but said he never used his position to harm anyone’s career.

Sunday’s event presented a contrast to an Aug. 2 call CBS executives held with investors and financial analysts. Moonves declined to address the allegations, and analysts didn’t press him.

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