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A New Yorker report on allegations of sexual assault, harassment, and retaliation against CBS CEO Leslie "Les" Moonves was so anticipated that it sent the media company's stock down nearly 10% hours before the story's publication on Friday afternoon.

CBS also read a statement by Redstone denying the allegations have anything to do with a boardroom battle before reading a statement from Moonves admitting he's made "mistakes".

CBS said in a statement that it would investigate the claim.

Moonves is now battling National Amusements Inc's Shari Redstone for control of CBS and Viacom, in which she is the controlling shareholder.

The employees also allege that Fager turned a blind eye when other male employees engaged in similar behavior, according to Farrow's account. Moonves's assistant, she said, had left the desk outside his office before the meeting began, something she noticed after she left.

Six women told the New Yorker's Ronan Farrow - who won a Pultizer Prize previous year for his reporting on allegations against disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein - that Moonves sexually harassed them between the 1980s and late 2000s. "Along with that team, we will continue to focus on creating value for our shareowners".

"All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously", the directors said in an emailed statement.

Moonves, 68, joined CBS in 1995 as president of CBS Entertainment and has been CEO since 2006. Actress Illeana Douglas says in 1997, Moonves attempted to hold her down and forcibly kiss her. Writer Janet Jones says he "threw himself on top of me".

Farrow, the reporter who wrote the article, rose to new prominence recently after he detailed accusations of rape and misconduct against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

CBS is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct within the company. The move would lessen the amount of control that Moonves has over the company.

Viacom shares jumped 5 percent to $29.35 on Friday, while CBS shares fell more than 6 percent to $54.01, as investors speculated that the chances of a merger had increased. "Ms. Redstone hopes that the investigation of these allegations is thorough, open and transparent", the company said.

Last year, CBS was the most watched network in the United States, although it dropped into third place, behind NBC and Fox for adults aged 18-49.

Mr Moonves has always been considered one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, helping steer the network broadcaster into the digital age.

CBS Independent Directors confirmed to E!

Chen hosts "Big Brother" and "The Talk" for CBS, and previously served as an anchor on morning new programs "CBS This Morning" and "The Early Show".