CBS, LAPD, coverup exhibits challenges for abuse victims

For twenty years, Leslie Moonves was the toast of Hollywood — the maestro who turned a moribund CBS into “America’s most-watched network.”

However the #MeToo motion introduced him down. Engulfed in a sexual abuse scandal, the CBS chief was pressured out in September 2018, practically a yr after Harvey Weinstein turned a pariah when dozens of girls got here ahead with assault and rape allegations.

This week, New York Atty. Gen. Letitia James launched a report revealing the lengths to which Moonves and his lieutenants, attorneys and a high-level Los Angeles Police Division captain went to maintain the manager in energy. The group conspired for months to hide damaging reviews of alleged sexual abuse that they knew would destroy his profession, in line with the report. Even a number of CBS board members, who have been conscious of the abuse allegations, maintained assist for the tv titan.

“The police cover-up, that was shocking,” mentioned Jim Gottlieb, the son of the accuser who went to the LAPD in 2017 to report a decades-old sexual assault.

The revelations additionally shocked attorneys, victims’ advocates and observers, who mentioned it was emblematic of the immense challenges ladies nonetheless face as they search to degree the gender taking part in area and produce complaints of misconduct amid fierce resistance from highly effective pursuits, akin to CBS and the LAPD.

“What is so jarring about this case is how clearly it lays out how these powerful men colluded to cover up a gender-based crime,” mentioned Caroline Heldman, an Occidental School professor of important principle and social justice. “This is one of myriad reasons why survivors don’t come forward — we know that we’re not going to get a fair shake with law enforcement.”

The scandal is more likely to additional debate concerning the effectiveness of the #MeToo motion 5 years after it turned a worldwide phenomenon. There have been legislative victories, but additionally many setbacks. And hanging variations stay mirrored in opinions on gender equality. A Kantar Public and Reykjavik World Discussion board report this yr discovered that 64% of males within the U.S. believed that girls had achieved equality, whereas solely 54% of girls held that view.

The Moonves cover-up started hours after Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, 81, walked into the LAPD’s Hollywood station Nov. 10, 2017, to report that Moonves had sexually assaulted her within the Nineteen Eighties. That evening, LAPD Capt. Cory Palka known as a CBS govt to alert him to the existence of the report.

“Somebody walked in the station about a couple hours ago and made allegations against your boss regarding a sexual assault,” the police captain mentioned that evening in a voicemail message left for Ian Metrose, then the senior vp of expertise relations at CBS, in line with the report.

“It’s confidential, as you know, but call me,” Palka mentioned.

Palka rapidly started working in tandem with Moonves, Metrose and different high-level CBS executives. Within the coming weeks, he and others on the LAPD made certain the report was buried and that Moonves’ accuser, Golden-Gottlieb, stayed quiet, in line with the legal professional normal’s report.

“The LAPD Captain assured [CBS executives] that he had spoken to his contacts within the LAPD and implemented controls to prevent news of the Police Report from leaking to the press,” the report mentioned.

Early on, the captain secretly supplied Moonves and CBS executives with a replica of the police report, which included private particulars about Golden-Gottlieb and her allegations, the report mentioned. (Golden-Gottlieb died in July.)

“It is shocking that a high-level captain in the LAPD decided to reveal a victim’s complaint, and chose to help a big corporation at the expense of a woman who alleged to law enforcement that she had been sexually assaulted,” mentioned lawyer Gloria Allred, who represented Golden-Gottlieb.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore this week expressed his dismay.

“What is most appalling is the alleged breach of trust of a victim of sexual assault, who is among the most vulnerable, by a member of the LAPD,” Moore mentioned. “This erodes the public trust and is not reflective of our values as an organization.”

5 days after Golden-Gottlieb filed her report, Palka — who was in command of the division’s Hollywood Division — texted Metrose and Moonves’ private legal professional, saying he’d been involved with the officer investigating the alleged assault.

Palka wrote that the investigator would “make contact & admonish the accuser tomorrow about refraining from going to the media and maintaining ‘her’ confidentiality” and “honoring the integrity of the investigation,” the report said.

“That captain had a sophisticated understanding of how he needed to suppress the survivor,” Heldman mentioned. “His goal was to make sure that other women didn’t come forward [knowing] that when one survivor goes public it could inspire others to come public.”

Palka has since retired from the division. He has not responded to a number of requests for remark. The LAPD mentioned it has launched an inner investigation to assessment whether or not different officers have been concerned.

Moonves, who this week declined to remark by way of a spokesman, has denied the allegations. Metrose declined to remark.

Within the mid-Nineteen Eighties, Golden-Gottlieb was a TV present improvement govt at Lorimar Productions, the Culver Metropolis studio behind “Dallas” and “Knots Landing.” Then, Moonves was an up-and-coming Lorimar govt in command of TV motion pictures, and he invited her to lunch.

Golden-Gottlieb recalled in a 2018 interview with The Instances that, as a substitute of driving to a restaurant, Moonves allegedly parked on a aspect road, forcibly grabbed her head and slammed it into his crotch, then ejaculated into her mouth.

Jim Gottlieb recalled his mom mustering the braveness to report the incident within the early, electrical days of the #MeToo motion. She made the report a few month after the New York Instances and the New Yorker first uncovered Weinstein’s alleged crimes.

Golden-Gottlieb had lengthy been haunted by her encounters with Moonves, her son mentioned.

“She told me for years about how badly Les Moonves had treated her, and that he had once thrown her up against the wall,” Gottlieb mentioned Thursday. “Every time she saw him on the news, it grated on her.”

Los Angeles County prosecutors declined to deliver expenses as a result of the statute of limitations had expired.

The legal professional normal’s report famous that when CBS executives acquired details about Golden-Gottlieb in 2017, they went to work “investigating the victim’s personal circumstances and that of her family.”

CBS ran background checks on Golden-Gottlieb and her household. One textual content message that circulated amongst CBS executives supplied Jim Gottlieb’s identify, handle and telephone quantity. CBS’ then-chief human assets officer, Anthony Ambrosio, wrote in a textual content message: “Need to research if neighborhood gives clues to need for $,” in line with the report.

“She wasn’t out to get money, or anything,” Gottlieb mentioned, noting that his mom initially had been reluctant to talk to investigative reporter Ronan Farrow, who was first to report the Moonves allegations, as a consequence of fears that the highly effective Moonves may sue her.

He additionally famous the Gottlieb household has lengthy questioned why the LAPD requested his aged mom to journey to a police station within the San Fernando Valley to be interviewed by a detective somewhat than nearer to her Park La Brea residence.

“She initially went to the Hollywood Division to file her complaint against Moonves; the case was assigned to a detective in the Mission Hills Division, requiring her to drive all the way out there for the interview,” Gottlieb mentioned, noting that his mom did a “practice drive” the day earlier than the interview to ensure the journey would go easily.

“Now I wonder if this was part of the attempt to cover it up,” Gottlieb mentioned.

On Friday, LAPD Capt. Kelly Muniz mentioned the inner assessment had simply been opened and it was “too early in this investigation” to debate the placement or different particulars of Golden-Gottlieb’s interview.

Former tv govt Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb talks in a 2018 interview about alleged abuse by ex-CBS boss Les Moonves.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Instances)

CBS’ mother or father firm, Paramount World, and Moonves earlier this week agreed to a $30.5-million settlement with James’ workplace to resolve regulation violations in 2017 and 2018. Moonves will present $2.5 million of that quantity. About half of the cash might be paid to CBS shareholders who sued 4 years in the past, alleging CBS illegally hid delicate details about the magnitude of the sexual harassment issues.

Buyers have lengthy maintained CBS ought to have disclosed its secrets and techniques as a result of Moonves was pivotal to the corporate’s success. The scandal affected the corporate’s inventory, with the legal professional normal’s report noting that CBS’ shares dropped 10% after the information of the Moonves assault allegations.

The New York legal professional normal started investigating the matter to find out whether or not CBS’ actions had violated state enterprise legal guidelines.

Within the aftermath of James’ report, activists for survivors mentioned the scandal highlighted challenges dealing with the #MeToo motion.

“Changing culture is a monumental task,” activist Gretchen Carlson mentioned Friday. “This all comes back to power. Usually the survivor is not holding the power — the only way the survivor holds the power is if they have a voice.”

Carlson, the previous Fox Information anchor who famously sued the community’s highly effective head, Roger Ailes, paving the best way for his ouster, now advocates for ladies by way of her group, “Lift Our Voices.”

After #MeToo turned a worldwide phenomenon, Time’s Up, the high-profile Hollywood group of girls, final yr was flattened by reviews that key leaders sought to guard Andrew Cuomo, the previous New York governor who was pressured to resign after an investigation by James’ workplace.

Girls proceed to struggle for standing within the office and accusers proceed to wrestle for his or her tales to be heard.

For instance, the U.S. Senate in 2018 narrowly accepted then-President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court docket regardless of allegations that he’d sexually assaulted a feminine classmate years earlier than. Kavanaugh denied the claims.

“The value of #MeToo is that it brought a lot of attention to the extent of sexual violence and misconduct,” mentioned Scott Berkowitz, founder and president of RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence group. “It encouraged more people to come forward and inspired a lot of companies to improve the way they treat people making allegations and improve the fairness of investigations.”

The LAPD-CBS-Moonves cover-up “is a frustrating reminder that progress isn’t a straight line,” Berkowitz mentioned. “Clearly, we are nowhere close to fixing the problem.”

Carlson mentioned legislative victories this yr have made her optimistic. In March, a invoice that she championed that bars pressured arbitration in sexual assault and harassment complaints was signed into regulation by President Biden.

“It takes courage to come forward in these situations,” Carlson mentioned. “It’s only from reporting stories like this and exposing these situations that we continue to make progress.”

Instances workers author Richard Winton contributed to this report.