CBS Corp. said former Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves has demanded arbitration, challenging the withholding of his $120 million severance when he left the broadcaster last year amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Moonves resigned in September after complaints about his alleged harassment, and the CBS board last month denied his severance payment, saying he hadn’t complied with an internal probe.
The executive had 30 days to file for arbitration, and did so just under the deadline, CBS said in a filing Thursday.
Moonves had long been one of the most powerful figures in entertainment, but he swiftly became one of the highest profile executives deposed in the #MeToo era.
His attorney had hinted last month that an arbitration demand was likely, saying he “vehemently denies any nonconsensual sexual relations.”
The arbitration means CBS can’t immediately move past the Moonves controversy to focus on an array of other matters, including possibly pursuing a merger that would reunite the company with former parent Viacom Inc.
Before leaving CBS, Moonves had been among the best-paid CEOs in the United States, according to the Bloomberg Pay Index.
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Over the course of his career running the TV company, he’s taken home more than $1 billion in salary, bonuses, taxable perks, exercised options and vested restricted shares, before taxes.