Some Folks Still Don’t Get It

Very good at his job but apparently not a very good person

By now you’ve probably heard that CBS has said bon voyage to its president and CEO, Les Moonves, after it turned out that Moonves has been using his power to take advantage of women for a very long time.  Of all of the public figures who’ve been caught doing this so far, Moonves is the biggest fish by far because for the past 23 years he’s been an executive of a media conglomerate that includes not just CBS television, with which we’re most familiar, but also the CW network, CBS Films, CBS Records, the Chowhound web site, CNET, Showtime, The Movie Channel, the Smithsonian Channel, Simon & Schuster publishing, and many, many others.  The biggest fish before Moonves was Harvey Weinstein, but his movie studios probably didn’t release more than one movie a month.

So Moonves is a very big deal who was very good at his job, and under his leadership CBS made an awful lot of money for an awful lot of people, so it’s not surprising that some of those people were reluctant to let him go.

Even though they understood what he has been doing for, apparently, many years, as the New York Times recently reported.

“We are going to stay in this meeting until midnight if we need to until we get an agreement that we stand 100 percent behind our C.E.O., and there will be no change in his status,” said one board member, William Cohen, a former congressman and senator who was defense secretary under President Bill Clinton, according to directors who heard the remarks and other people who were briefed on them.

Another director, Arnold Kopelson, an 83-year-old producer who won a Best Picture Oscar for “Platoon,” was even stronger in his defense of Mr. Moonves, the directors and others said. “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff,” Mr. Kopelson said in a meeting soon after the conference call. “Les is our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.”

That last one is especially interesting:  Kopelson said that “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff.  Les is our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.”

Even if 30 more women stepped forward with similar allegations.  

Cohen, Kopelson, and their board colleagues only relented, the Times reports, when one of Moonves’s accusers threatened to go public.  Then and only then did they realize they were going to have to part ways with their cash cow.

And if that one woman hadn’t been willing to go public and no others would, either?  Moonves would still be running CBS with the enthusiastic support of his board of directors.

Despite everything we’ve been experiencing and witnessing this past year or so, it’s clear that some people still haven’t gotten the message – and some of these people are very, very influential.

It looks like we’ve got a long way to go, baby.


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  • Peaches Shimmerdeep  On September 18, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Is it any wonder that women are reluctant to speak out? One man vs 30 women and he would still get the support? We certainly do have a long way to go, baby. And we are going to have to assert strongly, and accept that it may not be perceived as “ladylike”.

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