Sexual harassment scandal prompts television network grants

Television viewers in Tennessee and across the country have raised concerns about CBS' record on sexual harassment, and the company is responding as a result. After the former chairman and CEO of the network, Les Moonves, was fired from his position after a series of harassment complaints, the network has announced $20 million in gifts to organizations fighting discrimination against women in the workplace. The network said that the donations are meant to support the organizations' work and highlight the network's commitment to bolstering an anti-harassment culture in the workplace.

The funds to support the women's organizations are coming from Moonves' severance package. Moonves is seeking the remaining $120 million of his contractual severance, but CBS has indicated that they will not pay as he was fired for cause. The groups that will receive grants include Time's Up, Girls for Gender Equity (MeToo Movement) and Women in Film Los Angeles in addition to the anti-rape organization RAINN. Furthermore, the network will donate part of the grant to two larger foundations to disburse grants to smaller groups also campaigning against sexual harassment. The organizations thanked CBS for the grants and urged public disclosure of the results of the investigation into Moonves' conduct.

The announcement also came after revelations of another sexual harassment case at the top network. A $9.5 million confidential settlement was reached with Eliza Dushku, an actress on the series "Bull," who said that she was subjected to sexual comments and other forms of harassment from the show's star. Dushku's character was written out of the show after she complained about the unwanted sexual advances.

Sexual harassment continues to be a serious problem in the workplace that can hinder women's career advancement. Employees who have been harassed on the job can speak with an employment lawyer about the potential to take legal action against workplace discrimination.

Source: USA Today, "Scandal-plagued CBS hands out $20M to women's groups fighting sexual harassment", Alexandra Olson, December 14, 2018

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