UPDATE: Les Moonves has been fired from CBS and his severance package will be held until the investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct is concluded. The company’s current COO, Joseph Ianniello, will act as CEO until the board of directors finds a replacement. Also, $20 million will be deducted from Mooves’ severance pay and donated to organizations that support the #MeToo movement.
He won’t, but one can dream. The soon-to-be-ousted CEO and Chairman of CBS, who has been accused of sexual harassment, is rumored to have a $100 million golden parachute, so he’ll be fine no matter what. But why does Les Moonves deserve to lose everything, you ask? Well…he essentially ended Janet Jackson’s career.
According to a report by the Huffington Post, Les Moonves was so mad after Nipplegate that he became obsessed with destroying Janet. He wasn’t as mad at Justin Timberlake, who did the ripping of the bustier, because JT made a tearful apology directly to him. Janet’s public apology was apparently insufficient for the King of CBS, so he decided to make it his business to undermine her.
From Huffington Post:
Moonves ordered Viacom properties VH1 and MTV, and all Viacom-owned radio stations, to stop playing Jackson’s songs and music videos. The move had a huge impact on sales of her album “Damita Jo,” which was released in March 2004, just a month after the Super Bowl.
(Sidebar: CBS was owned by Viacom at the time)
And that’s not all. Seven whole years after the incident, Moonves was mad when he found out that CBS-owned publishing house, Simon & Schuster, gave Janet a book deal (for True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself).
More from Huffington Post:
“How the fuck did she slip through?” Moonves asked while recounting the story to a source who spoke to me. He told another source that heads were going to roll as a result of the deal.
It’s not clear whether Moonves ever actually took action against anyone who gave Jackson the book deal, but his tone when he spoke about Jackson was so aggressive, one source said they couldn’t speak to me on the record because “I’m not interested in having that man following me to the grave and trying to screw me over the whole time.”
Basically, Les Moonves is the worst type of enemy to have, but this is especially weird because it’s not like the Superbowl incident was a personal affront to him. Was a direct apology really all it took? Because, if so, he’s an egomaniac and a fucking tyrant. If not, then what was the real reason? Is it because Janet Jackson is black? Is it because she’s a woman? Or both? Why go so far out of your way to destroy a person who technically hasn’t done anything to you?
The good thing about this news — if we can call it that — is that we now have confirmation of what we all already knew. Janet didn’t fizzle out; she was forced out of the industry by one of the most powerful men in show business. And, unfortunately, this all took place in a pre-social-media world where it was far easier to stymie people.
At this point, there’s no way of telling if there’s any truth to the allegations of sexual harassment against Les Moonves, but if they are, I hope he gets sued for millions. Karma, do your thing.