CBS shares fall as Moonves sticks to earnings, doesn't talk misconduct allegations

CBS reported stronger quarterly earnings and revenue than expected Thursday, but shares of the media company fell as CEO Les Moonves didn’t discuss the sexual misconduct allegations against him on a conference call with analysts.

In his opening remarks, Moonves addressed CBS’s second-quarter earnings and growth in over-the-top video subscribers. Earnings jumped to $400 million from $58 million in the year-ago period, while adjusted earnings per-share came in at $1.12. Revenue grew 6% to $3.47 billion. The results narrowly beat Wall Street’s estimates.

Before Moonves began the call, CBS head of investor relations Adam Townsend laid the ground rules.

“In light of pending litigation and other matters, and on the advice of counsel, the scope of today’s call and any questions will be limited to the quarterly results of the company,” he said.

The earnings call follows a report in The New Yorker last week by Ronan Farrow that included allegations of sexual misconduct against Moonves by six women. The alleged incidents occurred between the 1980s and late 2000s.

CBS on Wednesday hired two law firms to investigate the allegations and claims of cultural issues inside CBS News.

In a statement following the report, Moonves acknowledged that he “may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances” but added, “I always understood and respected—and abided by the principle—that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career.”

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On Wednesday, FOX Business reported that the mood inside CBS was both tense and uncertain. Moonves, who has served as its CEO for 12 years, has led the company during a period of strong profits and ratings.

Shares of CBS fell more than 1% in after-hours trading. The stock is down more than 10% since the start of the year.