The Financial Times‘ news service, Agenda, retracted quotes from an alleged interview with ousted CBS CEO Les Moonves, who was fired last year after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced. Oddly, while Agenda admitted, in an editor’s note, that Moonves says the interview and quotes were fake, it still stands by its reporting.
The interview was noteworthy, the New York Times noted, because “the idea that Agenda, a niche outlet with 6,000 subscribers focused on corporate governance issues, had scored his first on-record comments since his firing struck many observers as implausible.”
Agenda’s website identifies it as a weekly newsletter that serves as a “boardroom resource platform, providing the most influential source of intelligence for today’s corporate directors. “
Agenda has removed the quotes in question though. Two such alleged Moonves quotes included, according to the New York Times:
- “How quickly the board forgets the job I did for CBS. They were a rudderless ship when I went there, when I took over.”
- “I think the board will do the right thing, ultimately.”
While Agenda’s Dec. 18 article by Stephanie Forshee and Jennifer Williams-Alvarez, is behind a paywall, according to the Hollywood Reporter the editor’s note reads in part:
“The original version of this article published on Dec. 18 included quotes attributed to Les Moonves and a headline related to those quotes. On Jan. 8, a spokesperson for Mr. Moonves issued a statement denying that Mr. Moonves spoke with reporters from Agenda in December 2018 or at any other time” …
“Our reporters had each dialed a number obtained from a subscription public records database that purported to be Mr. Moonves’s number and spoken with an individual who identified himself as Mr. Moonves. The individual had knowledge of the CBS board’s decision and the history behind it. We stand by our reporters’ portrayal of those conversations but, in light of the statement from Mr. Moonves, we have removed the quotes from the article.”
iMediaEthics has contacted Moonves’ spokesperson and the FT for more information.