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Gayle King says CBS "must have transparency" with Les Moonves investigation

Gayle King: "We must have transparency"
Gayle King on CBS' internal Moonves probe: "We must have transparency" 01:53

Longtime CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves resigned Sunday after new sexual abuse allegations by seven women were published. Two independent law firms are investigating the claims but the public may never know what CBS is able to discover about his behavior because the company agreed to keep the probe confidential. It's a notion that "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King finds disturbing.

"In our own house, we must have transparency," King said on the broadcast Tuesday morning. 

"I am so sorry, again, that it hits so close to home for us. I'm sick and sick of the story and sickened by everything that we keep hearing. But the part you mentioned about transparency is very disturbing to me because I would think, how can we have this investigation and not know how it comes out? Les Moonves has been on the record, he says, listen, he didn't do these things, it was consensual, that he hasn't hurt anybody's career. I would think it would be in his best interest for us to hear what the report finds out. On the other hand, you have women who are coming forward, very credibly, talking about something that's so painful and so humiliating. It's been my experience that women don't come out and speak this way for no reason. They just don't. They just don't do it. And so I don't know how we move forward if we don't – we at CBS – don't have full transparency about what we find."

CBS News was rocked by a similar scandal last November when legendary broadcast journalist and former "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose was accused by 27 women of sexual misconduct in a Washington Post report.  Rose was fired from CBS and PBS cancelled his long-running interview program, the "Charlie Rose" show. 

Norah O'Donnell, John Dickerson respond to Leslie Moonves resignation 02:10

King was off Monday when co-host Norah O'Donnell first addressed the allegations against her former boss on the broadcast:

"Les has always treated me fairly and with respect. Still, it's been, for me it's been another sleepless night thinking about this, the pain that women feel, the courage that it takes for women to come forward and talk about this.

And I really didn't know what I was going to say this morning. I know I needed to say something, so Gayle and I have talked and texted. And I said, 'Gayle, I'm kind of looking back to November, when we dealt with accusations against our former co-host.' And Gayle sort of said, 'Yeah, but you know I didn't think we'd still be the story in September.' Ten months later we're still talking about this.

But here's what I said back then, and I think it still holds and I want to say it again: There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and it is pervasive in our culture. And this I know is true to the core of my being: Women cannot achieve equality in the workplace or society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility.

So, I'm really proud to work here at CBS News. This has hurt morale, but there are some really, really good people that come to work every single day. As a journalist, I am confident that the truth is going to come out because this is being investigated. There are two prominent investigations going on by some really good lawyers," O'Donnell said.

Moonves could collect a $120 million severance payment if the independent investigation finds CBS had no grounds to remove him. For now, he will remain an unpaid adviser to CBS, with a company-provided office in New York or Los Angeles along with home security services.

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