CBS is still employing Ian Metrose, the senior network executive who in 2017 acted as a go-between for an LAPD captain accused of leaking confidential information about sexual assault allegations filed against then-CEO Les Moonves, TheWrap has learned.
Metrose, a 20-year veteran of the network who serves as SVP of talent relations and special events, was one of a handful of CBS executives named last week in a report by New York Attorney General Letitia James – but the only one still working there. The report is the basis for a $24.5 million settlement that Paramount Global and Moonves agreed to pay to CBS shareholders over Moonves’ 2018 ouster after the sex abuse claims finally came to light.
According to James’ report, Metrose was an intermediary between a now-retired LAPD captain and senior CBS executives to obtain unredacted, confidential police reports, which they used to suppress news about the accusations against Moonves for weeks – and which they had no legal right to see in the first place.
A rep for the network declined to comment beyond confirming that Metrose is still a CBS employee as of Friday. A source close to the network said that Metrose was put in an untenable situation by his superiors at the time.
In November 2017, as the #MeToo movement was hitting its crescendo, Metrose was contacted by the LAPD captain, later identified as Cory Palka, who had worked for Moonves as a bodyguard at the Grammy Awards from 2008 to 2014. The LAPD last week confirmed an investigation into Palka, a former captain of the Hollywood Division.
According to the New York attorney general’s report, Palka left Metrose a voicemail just hours after Moonves’ female accuser filed her report: “Hey, Ian, it’s [LAPD Captain]. I know we haven’t talked in a while. … Somebody walked in the station about a couple hours ago and made allegations against your boss [Moonves] regarding a sexual assault. It’s confidential, as you know, but call me, and I can give you some of the details and let you know what the allegation is before it goes to the media or gets out. So all right talk to you after a while. Bye.”
The woman’s police report was officially marked as “confidential,” meaning the accuser “affirmatively” did not want any of its details distributed publicly or privately. But through Metrose (via Palka), the unreacted document with all the details – including the accuser’s identity – were soon in the hands of top CBS executives, including Moonves, communications Gil Schwartz (who died in 2019) and head of HR Anthony Ambrosio.
Using code words and secretive text-messaging apps, the inner circle at the network schemed for weeks to keep the allegations out of the press, according to the report, which said Metrose brokered an in-person meeting between Moonves and Palka, and at one point had telephone conversations with the officers directly investigating the case.
Moonves was ousted as CBS CEO in September 2018 months after two bombshell reports by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker in which a dozen women accused the mogul of sexual assault and/or harassment. Ambrosio was was ousted in November of that year for his own involvement (with a $6 million golden parachute).
James’ report, and the settlement it generated, were related to securities fraud and insider trading. It said that the attempted concealment of the allegations – which executives knew would harm shareholder value – and the authorized sale of nearly $8.5 million of CBS stock by Schwartz before the allegations became public violated New York state’s blue-sky laws.
Last week, LAPD Chief Michel Moore announced an investigation into Palka for allegedly leaking the documents to CBS brass, which is a direct violation of California’s constitutional confidentiality laws. What is most appalling is the alleged breach of trust of a victim of sexual assault, who is among the most vulnerable, by a member of the LAPD,” Chief Michel Moore said in a statement. “This erodes the public trust and is not reflective of our values as an organization.”
On Thursday, Leah Remini tweeted a long thread that named Palka as the officer who handled a missing person report says she filed for Shelly Miscavige, wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige, in 2013. Remini said Palka had her report closed within hours, and without explanation.
But on Friday evening, a Twitter account for the LAPD’s public information officer sent a news release saying officers had located Shelly Miscavige, determined that she was alive and safe, and had closed the case. The release also said Palka was not involved.
LAPD News: LAPD Responds to Comments Made by Leah Remini pic.twitter.com/ri6RYp53r5
— LAPD PIO (@LAPDPIO) November 12, 2022
Thom Geier contributed to this report.