Les Moonves

Recently, several accusations have been made against me—eight women have come forward to claim I made inappropriate advances while working with them at CBS. I realize that my behavior may have resulted in some discomfort, but lost in the rush to judgment are important details about the context in which these interactions happened, and a lack of consideration over the damage these charges could do to me. It’s important to remember that these events happened a long time ago, and times have changed. Workplace culture is different now, and since then I’ve grown older, wiser, and more determined to never alter my behavior in any way.

Why should my career be destroyed over something I did over 10 years ago and would do again in a heartbeat?

Advertisement

Most of these allegations are decades old. I understand many of these women were offended or upset by what transpired between us, but nothing I did was outside of what I thought was totally fine. My past actions should not be judged by society’s standards from today, they should be judged by my standards from today. I will admit I made some mistakes, but must I lose everything over behavior that was considered completely normal at the time, and that I still deem completely acceptable?

These events are in the past, present, and future, and that’s where they should stay.

I take these accusations seriously, and I am committed to making CBS a place where everyone feels comfortable, but this mob mentality is going to destroy lives. Should I lose my job over some bad meetings that happened over 10 years ago and will happen again at the drop of a hat? How far back do we go? Where do we draw the line? No man should have to live in fear that something they did a decade ago, or will do again this afternoon, could eventually come back to haunt them.

Advertisement

Just think about the ramifications: my career and life in ruins just because of some mistakes I made countless times in the ’80s and ’90s, and will continue to do over and over again. That’s an impossible standard to live up to.

Do my detractors really want to live in a world where a man can have his reputation marred by nothing more than 30 years’ worth of repeated actions that have become an ingrained part of his personality?

Of course, I did some things wrong. Could I have been more understanding when women turned me down? Maybe. Should I have been much more careful and picked targets who wouldn’t have given me such a hard time? Absolutely. But this was 15 or 20 years ago, and who back then didn’t occasionally sexually terrorize an assistant? All I am asking is to be judged not for the person I was, but for the nearly identical person I am today. We all make mistakes constantly, deliberately, and without remorse, and then we refuse to grow from them.

Advertisement

It’s part of being human.

A person can change. I am certainly never going to harass women with larger platforms or powerful media connections again. We shouldn’t be going through every person’s past, looking for every little string of assaults, just to tear them down. It’s so easy to look backwards and criticize people based on what we know now, but at the time, nobody bothered to tell me I wasn’t above the law. Hopefully, people realize that I deserve a second chance and will also deserve a third, fourth, eighth, and 22nd chance.

We need to do better as a society. People occasionally do bad things, and they shouldn’t be ostracized just because they will do them again as soon as they can. I’ve already paid the terrible price of being fairly upset for a few days. The things I did 20 years ago, 15 years ago, 10 years ago, and will do again next week do not define me.

Advertisement

We need to learn to forgive and forget. Especially forget. If I show remorse and say, “I’m sorry,” it should be enough for people to move on and let me continue doing these exact same things forever.