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CBS Is Donating $20 Million From Les Moonves’ Severance Package to 18 Women’s Organizations

On Friday, CBS announced it will donate $20 million to 18 women’s organizations that focus on eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace. The move comes as CBS grapples with multiple accusations of misconduct leveled against high-profile leaders at the organization.

CBS said earlier this year that it planned to take funds out of former CEO Les Moonves’ $140 million severance package and apply them toward women’s rights causes. They have now identified the recipients of the money, which include Time’s Up, Catalyst, the Freedom Forum Institute’s Power Shift Project, the International Women’s Media Foundation, Press Forward, and the Women’s Media Center. Reportedly, two of the organizations will also disperse some of the money to smaller women’s organizations.

Moonves stepped down in September after at least 12 women came forward to accuse him of behavior that ranged from lewd comments to assault. Along with Moonves, allegations have also been made against former show host Charlie Rose and 60 Minutes producer Jeff Fager, both of whom are no longer with the company.

A recent investigation into CBS’s history and culture of harassment also revealed that the network had paid actress Eliza Dushku $9.5 million in January to settle a dispute about how it handles harassment complaints she made about actor Michael Weatherly. According to documents obtained by The New York Times, Dushku had felt uncomfortable after Weatherly allegedly made comments about rape, a threesome, and her physical appearance.

For many, however, CBS’s $20 million pledge still not enough. Time’s Up, which will received $2 million toward an initiative aimed at increasing female representation in the entertainment industry, had previously urged the company to donate all of Moonves’ severance package.

“We also urge that the full amount reserved for Mr. Moonves’ severance be contributed to organizations that address sexual harassment and workplace safety. That is $120 million dollars that will either go to Mr. Moonves or back into the coffers of the company that allowed the culture created by Mr. Moonves to continue,” the organization wrote in a letter this September. “Or that $120 million can create change by going to organizations—and there are many impactful organizations—that can help women of all kinds. The choice is yours. But the answer is obvious. We ask that you not dishonor the bravery of those who have come forward by spending that money unwisely.”

In a joint statement released by all of the groups, the 18 organizations thanked CBS for the donation, but made it clear it doesn’t excuse the misbehaviors that have occurred at the highest levels of the company.

“We thank CBS for these donations. We also recognize these funds are not a panacea, nor do they erase or absolve decades of bad behavior,” the groups wrote.

Related Stories:

CBS Confirms It Paid Actress Eliza Dushku $9.5 Million to Settle Harassment Claims

Time’s Up Wants CBS to Donate All of Les Moonves’ $120 Million Severance

More Networks Are Creating TV Shows for and by Women—So Why Isn’t CBS?

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