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'If Bobbie Talks, I'm Finished': How Les Moonves Tried to Silence an Accuser
James B. Stewart, Rachel Abrams and Ellen Gabler

Former CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves reigned as one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood until published reports of sexual harassment and intimidation in The New Yorker forced his resignation. In the wake of that #MeToo moment, reporters from The New York Times found a fresh angle to the story by introducing the world to Marv Dauer, an aging, down-on-his-luck talent manager in Hollywood who had an important tie to Moonves. One of Dauer’s clients was actress Bobbie Phillips, who alleged that she had a nonconsensual encounter with Moonves years ago that traumatized her. Dauer’s involvement as a tentative go-between for the executive and the actress formed the crux of this gripping tale, with the text messages that Dauer retained offering circumstantial evidence that Moonves, in an effort to quell the damage to his credibility, sought acting roles for Phillips in order to silence her. The fallout from Dauer’s role in this cause célèbre had enormous financial implications for CBS and its shareholders, with Moonves seeking to collect a controversial $120 million severance payment per his contract. As it turned out, the CBS board of directors determined that its former CEO was terminated for cause and thus was owed nothing. This matter is currently in arbitration.

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