Les MoonvesLatest News and Opinion
Posted Monday 8/13/18 at 8:43AM EDT
Stephen Colbert defends Sean Spicer Emmys bit, says CBS gave no pushback on his Les Moonves comments
The Late Show host's visit to Watch What Happens Live went surreal last night when Andy Cohen had an animated talking "Shady Col-Bear!" ask him about the much-criticized Spicer bit. Asked if he regretted it, Colbert said: "Not at all. I had no fear that it would redeem him. I knew that there would be some people that wouldn’t like it, and the funny thing was is that right before I brought him out, I looked around the room and I thought to myself, ‘There’s not one joke that I’ve told tonight to this room full of liberals that was a risk other than the one I’m about to do,’ and it was the joke I most wanted to do.” As for Colbert's remarks on Moonves' sexual harassment scandal, The Late Show host said he spent days preparing his comments, and that his show notified CBS about what he was going to say 30 minutes before taping.
Posted Thursday 8/09/18 at 7:12PM EDT
Report: 60 Minutes boss tolerated a star producer's "abusive and alarming" workplace behavior
Allegations that senior producer Michael Rudutzky was an "out-of-control guy, especially but not exclusively toward women" were touched upon in Ronan Farrow's bombshell New Yorker story on Les Moonves. Farrow reported how Rudutzky -- who quietly left CBS News in May -- allegedly threatened to throw furniture at another senior producer, Vicki Gordon, and twisted her arm behind her back, an allegation that he categorically denies. 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager had Gordon apologize to mitigate conflict in the office, Farrow reported, but the 60 Minutes boss insists he didn't stop her from going to human resources. The Washington Post's Erik Wemple has uncovered further allegations of Rudutzky behaving badly. "According to numerous sources who worked with him and witnessed his conduct, the star producer engaged in behavior that ranged from screaming at colleagues to throwing objects — behavior they claim was tolerated for too long as Radutzky brought in exclusive 'gets' that burnished the 60 Minutes brand," Wemple reports. Wemple adds: "These allegations date back years — which is what makes them so powerful and so troubling: Under Fager’s leadership, 60 Minutes held on to an employee accused of assaulting Gordon, not to mention other allegations that point to a general pattern of troubling behavior." Former 60 Minutes employees say there was a "professional mind-meld" between Fager and Radutzky, leaving staffers in fear of reporting Radutzky's behavior. Wemple reports: "Those working under Radutzky knew whom they’d be challenging if they ever complained about his conduct. Said a former colleague, 'Michael made it clear to everyone that he had Jeff’s ear. … He held that as sort of a latent threat over everyone.'"
Posted Tuesday 8/07/18 at 2:27PM EDT
At CBS, there is "growing unease" over Les Moonves' fate
"For the most part, the shock has worn off. But a black cloud still hangs heavy over CBS," reports Cynthia Littleton. She adds that "there is growing unease that a regime change at the Moonves level could lead to a housecleaning in the upper executive ranks. CBS’ Big Four rivals have all faced a revolving door of management, but not CBS. Since he took the reins as CBS Entertainment president in July 1995, Moonves has been the consistent presence that galvanized the daily work of the mothership network and its offshoots: Showtime, CBS Television Studios, Simon & Schuster and CBS Television Stations. CBS has about 20,000 employees concentrated mostly in New York and Los Angeles and at its 28 owned-and-operated TV stations across the country."
Posted Tuesday 8/07/18 at 4:22AM EDT
Howard Stern spent 45 minutes ranting against Les Moonves, comparing him to Tony Soprano
The shock jock responded to the Moonves sexual harassment allegations on Monday morning by recounting how the Moonves-led CBS sued him for $500 million claiming he breached his contract when he was employed by CBS Radio and announced he was leaving for Sirius Satellite Radio. Amid the lawsuit, Stern visited David Letterman's Late Show wearing a "I HATE LES MOONVES" T-shirt.
Posted Monday 8/06/18 at 2:50PM EDT
CW president on Les Moonves sexual harassment allegations: We're a "different place, different culture, different world"
"We're fairly autonomous" of CBS, said CW president Mark Pedowitz at TV press tour, noting that The CW is a "joint venture" between CBS and Warner Bros.
Posted Monday 8/06/18 at 3:26AM EDT
CBS' TV press tour day was greeted by a "Fire Les Moonves" billboard truck
The women's advocacy group Ultraviolet hired the truck for CBS' TV press tour session on Sunday. "We believe the women sexually assaulted and harassed by Les Moonves," read the billboard. "Why doesn't CBS?" ALSO: CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl inspired zero faith that the network is taking Les Moonves' allegations seriously.
Posted Sunday 8/05/18 at 3:40PM EDT
CBS Entertainment president discusses "tough week" amid Les Moonves sexual harassment scandal, says many female colleagues are "saddened"
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
“I’ve had many female colleagues come to me this week who’ve been saddened by what they’ve read about our company," CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl said at TV press tour in reaction to the investigation sparked by Ronan Farrow's New Yorker article. "They said it does not represent their experience at CBS...I’m not saying we’re perfect — no large company is — and there’s always room for improvement. But a lot of us have been here a long time precisely because CBS Entertainment is such a fulfilling place to work.” ALSO: CBS seemed to struggle to defend itself amid Moonves scandal.
Posted Sunday 8/05/18 at 3:40PM EDT
Murphy Brown creator Diane English announces a #MeToo episode while discussing the Les Moonves scandal
Source: Entertainment Weekly
“That will be our fourth episode," English said of the episode devoted to the #MeToo movement, which was written months ago before the CBS CEO was accused of sexual misconduct. "We support the investigation fully," she said of the allegations against Moonves. "None of us had a negative experience like that at CBS. We never experienced any kind of sexual misconduct. No one on my crew has.”
Posted Friday 8/03/18 at 3:50PM EDT
A "Fire Moonves Now" billboard truck has been hired to circle CBS' TV press tour presentation on Sunday
Women’s advocacy group UltraViolet has commissioned the billboard to circle around the Beverly Hilton hotel, which will be hosting CBS' TV press tour day on Sunday. "By allowing Leslie Moonves to keep his job, CBS is telling their employees that their safety doesn’t matter, and that the toxic culture of harassment and discrimination Moonves has created is acceptable. And that’s not just wrong, that’s dangerous," said UltraViolet co-founder and executive director Shaunna Thomas in a statement. ALSO: Wall Street analysts rip CBS for failing to address important questions about management succession or workplace safety.
Posted Friday 8/03/18 at 10:11AM EDT
Julie Chen's influence at CBS is under scrutiny in wake of Les Moonves allegations
Source: The Daily Beast
"Are rumors of her diva-ish behavior true—or rooted in misogyny?" asks The Daily Beast's Lloyd Grove. He reports that detractors of The Talk co-host and Big Brother host accuse Chen of "favoritism, bullying, and wielding her marital status like a sledgehammer." Chen's supporters say, however, that she is “gracious,” “professional” and “discreet.” Grove says it's unlikely that Chen will be forced out of her CBS jobs if Moonves was ousted as CBS CEO -- but she might exit out of loyalty to her husband. Grove details some of the allegations against Chen, including one claim that she was so powerful at CBS that CBS News couldn't air special reports while The Talk was on live between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET. Former Early Show senior executive producer Shelley Ross, who worked with Chen for six months, raised eyebrows when she tweeted last week, "what about Julie Chen’s abuses of power…”? Former The Talk colleague Aisha Tyler is defending Chen, saying "there’s a strong thread of misogyny in what people say about Julie, because the underlying thread here is 'Oh, if she’s a woman, somehow she got where she is because of who she slept with.' And I think it’s extraordinarily sexist.” ALSO: CBS Evening News accidentally misspelled Les Moonves' name as "Mooves."
Posted Thursday 8/02/18 at 10:51PM EDT
Les Moonves' ouster from CBS would be incredibly difficult -- thanks to his "immensely intricate" new 87-page contract
Source: Vanity Fair
The CBS board of directors has to be "careful, thorough, and deliberative" in its handling of the Moonves sexual misconduct allegations, says William D. Cohan. "First, if the CBS board decides that Moonves has to go, and go relatively quickly in order to allow CBS to heal and to move out of the #MeToo media spotlight, they will probably have to pay him a meaningful amount of money," he says. "Moonves has a new and immensely intricate 87-page contract, which he signed last May, that delineates how and why he can be relieved of his job, and the ensuing compensation structures. In the contract, among other things, CBS can terminate Moonves 'for cause,' which would likely allow the company to avoid significant severance, with a myriad of definitions listed regarding what 'cause' might be. The sixth definition—if Moonves willfully and materially violated a CBS policy that is applicable to all employees or company officers, including policies on insider trading or sexual harassment—could possibly be relevant to his current imbroglio. The seventh—a failure to participate in a company investigation after being directed to do so by the board of directors—also might apply." Cohan adds that Moonves might be able to resign before getting fired and collect $184 million. ALSO: Moonves avoided talking about his sexual misconduct scandal on an earnings call Thursday.
Posted Thursday 8/02/18 at 3:05AM EDT
Samantha Bee: Les Moonves should've been asked to step down from CBS
“In the words of one of the immortal characters he helped create: ‘It’s time for this Moonves to be eclipsed,'" Bee said on Full Frontal while doing an impression of CSI: Miami's Horatio Caine. “CBS president Les Moonves is in deep trouble for sexually harassing female colleagues – or maybe he’s not in trouble at all,” Bee -- who tapes her show at CBS Broadcast Center in New York -- said on Wednesday's edition of Full Frontal. “Yes," she added jokingly, "who could ever bear to get rid of the creative mastermind who developed Hawaii Five-O and Hawaii Five-O: Miami? Les Moonves may be a brilliant TV creator, but no cop procedural, no matter how well-crafted and original, is worth ending a woman’s career to shut her up." ALSO: Terry Crews helps Bee tackle the seriousness of sexual assault on men.
Posted Thursday 8/02/18 at 3:05AM EDT
CBS board hires two high-powered law firms to investigate Les Moonves, CBS News, and "cultural issues at all levels of CBS"
The board announced Tuesday it has hired the law firms Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton to "conduct a full investigation of the allegations in recent press reports about Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, CBS News and cultural issues at all levels of CBS." The board also named a special committee to oversee the investigation. Moonves will have no role in the investigation.
- Civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, who briefly represented Harvey Weinstein, says the CBS board hired "Big Law defense firms" that would only give Moonves a "wrist slap"
- Moonves exits the Anita Hill-led commission on sexual misconduct
- CBS News president David Rhodes reportedly told his staff the new revelations “test your capacity for disappointment"
- USC School of Cinematic Arts suspends Moonves from its board
Posted Wednesday 8/01/18 at 1:35PM EDT
The New York Times and Wall Street Journal were looking into Les Moonves sexual harassment allegations last December
Source: The New York Times
The Times says the CBS CEO was "reckless" in starting a civil war against Shari Redstone, the CBS board member and vice chairwoman, who reportedly asked him point-blank about the allegations a while back. "CBS’s board knew — or should have known — about potential problems with Mr. Moonves’s past behavior long before the news broke last week," reports The Times' James B. Stewart. "Rumors had proliferated almost immediately after The New York Times and The New Yorker published their prizewinning exposés of the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in October. They intensified after Charlie Rose, a host of CBS This Morning, was fired in November. By December, CBS executives had been told that reporters for The Times and The Wall Street Journal were asking around about sexual-harassment allegations involving Mr. Moonves, according to a person close to CBS. By early this year, CBS officials had spoken to a number of reporters about the allegations, this person said." When The Times and The Journal didn't follow through with articles, Moonves may have been given a false sense of security.
Posted Wednesday 8/01/18 at 12:04AM EDT
Les Moonves sexual harassment allegations look like further proof that abusive power players shape the stories that are told
Moonves is a one of the most influential gatekeepers in what stories are told and how they are told, and his impact extends all the way through CBS' many subsidiaries, from CBS News to CBS All Access to The CW and Simon & Schuster. So it should be concerning that somebody accused of sexual harassment has overseen a CBS Corp. that has been brimming with sexual misconduct allegations, from 60 Minutes to Charlie Rose to former NCIS producer Brad Kern and CW Arrowverse producer Andrew Kreisberg. "The point is simply this: People accused of sexual harassment and assault have formed the backbone of police procedurals, teen superhero dramas and some of the country’s (previously) most trusted news programming," says Caroline Framke. "How did these men shape the stories they were telling to millions? Which stories haven’t been told at all? Whose voices were silenced or dismissed as unimportant? Who was elevated, and who became collateral damage? What, exactly, have we lost because of powerful egos throwing their weight around?"