Embattled CBS CEO Les Moonves reportedly held a years-long grudge against Janet Jackson as a result of her 2004 infamous “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show. Afterwards, the beleaguered CBS honcho was obsessed with ruining Jackson’s career, according to the HuffPost.
Although Moonves is embattled and likely to be ousted from CBS amid sexual harassment allegations (reportedly with a significant severance payment) following an investigation by The New Yorker, many women and men whom I contacted about Moonves’ conduct were reluctant to speak to me, even when I told them they could speak off the record.
One target of Moonves’ ire and vengefulness, according to multiple sources, was Janet Jackson.
Jackson became a years-long fixation for Moonves after the so-called “wardrobe malfunction” of 2004, when her breast was exposed for nine-sixteenths of a second after Justin Timberlake tore a piece of fabric off her bustier during their Super Bowl halftime performance.
CBS and MTV (a subsidiary of Viacom, the parent company of CBS at the time), which produced the halftime show, faced a torrent of criticism and a $550,000 Federal Communications Commission fine.
Jackson and Timberlake both said the incident was truly a malfunction ― that Timberlake was only meant to rip away the leather on Jackson’s bustier to reveal red lace, but instead ripped away everything, leaving her breast exposed to over 100 million Super Bowl fans.
Moonves, however, was convinced it wasn’t a malfunction, but rather an intentional bid to stir up controversy.
Moonves has been open about the fact that the incident caused him embarrassment, and he told sources who spoke to me that Jackson, in his mind, was not sufficiently repentant.
Moonves banned Jackson and Timberlake from the 2004 Grammys broadcast airing on CBS the week after the Super Bowl. But Timberlake was allowed to perform after he tearfully apologized for the incident, according to conversations Moonves had with my sources.
The CBS chief executive, according to sources who spoke to me, was furious that Jackson didn’t make a similarly contrite apology to him. The fallout from the incident inflicted significant damage on Jackson’s career ― which until that point had produced 10 No. 1 hits ― and still reverberates to this day.
Moonves was the subject of an expose by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ronan Farrow in July that featured six women accusing the CBS honcho of sexual harassment. In addition, more than two dozen company employees, past and present, detailed episodes involving harassment, gender discrimination or retaliation at the network between the 1980s and the 2000s.
In Farrow’s report, actress Illeana Douglas accused Moonves of luring her to a hotel to talk business, only to make sexual advances and forcibly kiss her.
Dinah Kirgo shared a similar story, in which Moonves is said to have feigned interest in a business meeting, only to pursue a dinner with her alone. Kirgo said she believed that rejecting the CBS CEO’s advances had hurt her career.
CBS announced an independent investigation led by influential attorneys Nancy Kestenbaum of Covington & Burling, and Mary Jo White of Debevoise & Plimpton. Moonves admitted to mistakes but denied using his powerful position as network chief for wrongdoing.
Fox Business’ Charlie Gasparino reported on Thursday that CBS is close to parting ways with Moonves, who would walk away with an exit package which could exceed $100 million.
“It looks like this guy is on the way out. Imminently,” Gasparino said.
Via: Fox News