Because a month in 2018 wouldn’t be complete without someone in power in the entertainment industry being exposed as an (alleged) pervy lech, the rumored New Yorker piece by Ronan Farrow on Les Moonves, 68, has come out. And it’s exactly as advertised. Several women have come forward to accuse the CBS Corporation’s chairman and CEO of sexual harassment. People reports that Les’ wife, animatronic Big Brother and The Talk hostess Julie Chen, has elected to take the stand by your man route. Maybe there’s an air-tight prenup?
For the article, celebrity sexual harassment avenger, Ronan, spoke with six women who are accusing Les of sexual harassment and intimidation and “dozens more” who claim that sexual harassment was an allegedly regular practice at CBS, until the era of #MeToo. First up, actress/writer Illeana Douglas. (Yes, THAT Illeana Douglas – Goodfellas, Cape Fear, almost upstaged Nicole Kidman in To Die For). Illeana was approached by Les in the late ’90s to create and star in a sitcom for CBS. During production, Les allegedly called her into his office and asked her if he could kiss her, and Illeana says that she tried to turn the convo back to work. No such luck. Illeana’s story is pretty nauseating. You’ve been warned.
As Douglas attempted to turn the focus back to work, Moonves, she said, grabbed her. “In a millisecond, he’s got one arm over me, pinning me,” she said. Moonves was “violently kissing” her, holding her down on the couch with her arms above her head. “What it feels like to have someone hold you down—you can’t breathe, you can’t move. The physicality of it was horrendous.” She recalled lying limp and unresponsive beneath him. “You sort of black out,” she told me. “You think, How long is this going to go on? I was just looking at this nice picture of his family and his kids. I couldn’t get him off me.”
Illeana says that it got way worse and Les supposedly had the nerve to ask her “so what do you think?”. Instead of replying “I think I should bash you over the head with one of your many industry awards and hope it kills you,” Illeana says that she kept it together and tried to use humor to get out of the situation. Les didn’t like this, tried to block her from leaving the office, and demanded that she not tell anyone about the incident.
Shortly afterward, she was dropped by both her manager and her agents at CAA and replaced in the series. Les, via a statement by CBS, says that he acknowledges trying to kiss her but “denies any characterization of ‘sexual assault,’ intimidation, or retaliatory action,” including berating her on set and personally firing her from “Queens.”
In addition to that drama, Ronan spoke to five other women with unfortunately similar accusations, including writers Janet Jones and Dinah Kirgo, producer Christine Peters, and two actresses who wanted to remain anonymous. The women who worked for the CBS Corporation had stories about a general atmosphere of “we’re dudes, we’re in power, and you will deal with us being pigs if you want to make it in the industry.”
Les released Statement #615B from The How To Fend Off A #MeToo Accusation Handbook which sort of acknowledges you did it, but hinting that it wasn’t that bad. CBS also pointed out that no sexual harassment suits or allegations have been filed against him in his 24 years at CBS.
“Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company. I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected—and abided by the principle—that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”
Ironically, Les “helped found the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace” back in December.
And as for wifey:
— Julie Chen (@JulieChen) July 27, 2018
Who knew old folks’ network CBS was possibly just a front for evil? If accusations against former CBS children’s show mainstay Captain Kangaroo ever come to light, I’m quitting the celeb gossip business to join a monastery, because it’s all getting to be a little much.