Monday, September 10, 2018

The lessons from the Moonves moment (Ava and C.I.)

Leslie Moonves is gone.  Ding dong.

BREAKING: Leslie Moonves will depart as Chairman, President and CEO of CBS Corp, effective immediately. COO Joseph Ianniello will serve as President and acting CEO while the Board conducts a search for a permanent successor.

Sunday, Ronan Farrow filed another piece for THE NEW YORKER with six new women accusing Leslie Moonves of assault.  It was the last straw for a board that was in the process of easing Moonves out.  The week before had been discussions over his exit package – despite the fact that it was his package that got him in trouble in the first place.  Fortunately, some people (we’re not saying who) aware of the details leaked them to the press and CBS had a major backlash on their hands as outrage greeted the notion that someone accused of assault would get millions to leave.
Name another crime where payment like that would even be considered?
Moonves was a serial assaulter.  Would we have paid Son of Sam $100 million to stop killing people?  In what world should Moonves be paid to leave? 
He should be behind bars. 
As it stands now, CBS is donating $20 million to causes and, if Moonves is cleared in the investigation, Moonves may get some pay out.
The whole episode was an educational moment in many ways.
Like Kathy Griffin, we think it’s time to hold people accountable.  (Click here for Kathy’s thread on that.)  

People accountable.  Plural.
Ronan Farrow’s articles have noted it is a climate at CBS.  We agree.  Check the archives, we’ve noted the hostility to women at CBS for 14 years now.  If it’s too much to look for our past work, just reflect on CBS’ schedule this past season.  Matt le Blanc stars in a show called, naturally, MAN WITH A PLAN, WISDOM OF THE CROWD starred a man (and was allowed to die when accusations came out against him), CRIMINAL MINDS stars a man, INSTINCT starred Alan Cummings, NCIS LOS ANGELES starred men, KEVIN CAN WAIT starred Kevin James, ME, MYSELF & I starred Bobby Moynihan, 9JKL starred Mark Feuerstein, SCORPION starred Elyes Gabel, NCIS starred Mark Harmon, BULL starred Michael Weatherly, NCIS NEW ORLEANS starred Scott Bakula,  SEAL TEAM starred David Boreanaz, S.W.A.T. stars Shemar Moore, LIVING BIBLICALLY starred a man, RANSOM starred a man, YOUNG SHELDON stars Iain Armitage, MACGYVER stars a man while HAWAII FIVE-O stars two.
Women?  Women star or co-star in the following: MADAM SECRETARY, ELEMENTARY, CODE BLACK, THE BIG BANG THEORY, MOM and LIFE IN PIECES – and, to be clear, women are only the primary focus in MADAM SECRETARY and MOM.
Do you see the imbalance?
Do you wonder why we’re the only ones noting this year after year?  Or why we’re the only ones noting how CBS has actively worked to destroy their own hit shows starring women?
This is a cultural thing.  Lucille Ball may have built CBS but the network’s never celebrated women.
It’s a cultural mindset.
And Moonves leaving is not going to change the mindset.  It’s going to take a lot more.  Now if The Water Cooler Set could stop worshiping at The Holy Stalk Of All Things Penile (yes, Terry Gross, we do mean you), maybe they could join us in objecting.  Or are we going to be the only ones calling this out for another 14 years? (To be clear, we do not plan on doing this for another 14 years, so it would be really great if someone else could grab the baton.)
Back to Kathy.  She’s calling out Julie Chen and she’s right to do so. 
Julie Chen is married to Moonves.   She hooked up with him – well, let’s go to CRAPAPEDIA: “There, she met her future longtime boyfriend, television news editor Gary Donahue, though their relationship did not last.[22] She began dating Leslie Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Television, during his marriage to Nancy Wiesenfeld Moonves, and on April 22, 2003 (a week after Les Moonves signed a five-year multimillion-dollar contract with Viacom[23]) his wife filed for divorce in L.A. Superior Court citing irreconcilable differences.[24]

By this point, Moonves had a decades long pattern of assaulting women.  Not every woman considered it an assault.  Some women saw it as an opportunity.  Sometimes, per THE NEW YORKER reports, he offered women a chance at employment or greater employment if they had sex with him.  Only Julie knows if she secured her success via sex with Moonves. 
But Julie was aware of many allegations against Moonves – assault – and was aware for years.  Kathy makes the point she tried to reach out to Julie and was rebuffed.  Kathy wasn’t the only one.  And Julie’s part of the problem. 
Her husband declared war on Janet Jackson, for example, and Julie used her position on THE TALK to trash Janet.  Julie was always on board.
So, no, she does not get a pass.
Lynda Carter? 
Who the hell knows why she chose to stick her nose in.  But when Illeana Douglas bravely came forward, Lynda, aka Blunder Woman, felt the need to call her a liar.  Yes, Lynda, that’s what your Tweet did.  And if there’s any karma, you’ll be back at a shack spooning your s**t again (don’t worry, Lynda knows exactly what we’re talking about – not all comments are public conversations).  Lynda’s not a bad person but she is old enough to know better than to stick her nose in on something like this.  If you weren’t there, you don’t know.
Lynda needs to take a hard look at what she thought she was accomplishing when she injected herself into the dialogue rushing to insist Moonves would never assault a woman.  Seriously, what did she think she was accomplishing?  Illeana’s a liar?  Is that what she thought she was accomplishing?
Illeana is known for her core honesty – that’s why we defended her and stood with her from the start (here and at THE COMMON ILLS).
But you’ll note that not everyone did.  No, we’re not talking about Lynda Carter.  We’re talking about all the self-appointed social moralists.
Take Alyssa Milano who as late as last month was still claiming credit for the hashtag #MeToo to PEOPLE magazine as she promoted the crapfest that was INSATIABLE.  She did not invent the hashtag.  She is appropriating the work of another woman, Tarana Burke.
Alyssa has repeatedly appropriated this woman’s work.  From time to time, when called out, she’ll give Tarana credit.  And then she goes back – as she did with PEOPLE last month – to pretending she created it.
Appropriation – also known as theft.
You’ve heard of the golden calf, Alyssa’s sort of the golden calf for CAA.  She’s a designated speaker for the agency and she’s married to an agent there.  CAA, for those who don’t know, has been knee deep in the assault against women for decades.
Rose McGowan has rightly questioned Alyssa’s so-called commitment to the cause.  Alyssa, for example, is still tight with  Harvey Weinstein’s now ex-wife and defends her.  Sorry, being the wife is not really an excuse.  Harvey’s behavior was widely known and, yes, the wife knew.
That should have been enough for people to catch on to Alyssa.  There’s also the fact that Alyssa was a producer of CHARMED during the last half of the show’s run.  And?  A man harassed women repeatedly.  Alyssa claims shock – shock!  It was her duty to know.  A producer needs to ensure that a set is a safe environment.  (That’s in all ways and manners and the producers of LETHAL WEAPON grasped that which is why they fired an actor.) 
And then we have Illeana stepping up.  And Alyssa doesn’t Tweet one word, not to support Illeana, not to note Ronan’s original article where Illeana and other women came forward to tell the truth about Moonves.  Yet she’s claiming to support women and pretending that she invented MeToo? 
Sara Gilbert did two Tweets to attack Roseanne Barr for what was Barr’s bad joke.  Sara did not note that Roseanne is not a racist (Roseanne is not a racist).  She just attacked her.  Funny thing, and Rosenne knows this, ABC never liked Sara.  Network execs felt she came off “lesbian.”  This was from the start.  She could have been fired at any moment if Roseanne hadn’t stood up for her.  The issue arose again when Sara was going to college in real life.  ABC wondered why they didn’t replace Sara Gilbert and get a non-lesbian actress.  The 90s were not a gay friendly atmosphere for ABC – they took an axe to ELLEN after putting warning messages ahead of every episode.  The easiest thing Roseanne could have done would have been to say, “Yeah, let’s fire her.”  Instead, she stood by Sara Gilbert.
How sad that Roseanne Tweets a bad joke and Sara rips her apart.  Leslie Moonves gets exposed for assaulting women and Sara’s response?  She stands with Julie and Leslie.  So tell a bad joke and Sara rips you apart, assault multiple women and Sara stands by you.
Why would anyone come out about being assaulted?
You are not believed.  You are not supported. 
Illeana tells the truth and the Alyssas and Saras and Lyndas attack.
Gals, you are a big part of the problem.  Shame on you. 
But Harvey Weinstein!
Harvey had his take down because the entertainment industry was done with him.  He was hideous and a pig.  But what did him in, what destroyed his support, was Harvey’s actions.  Not the assaults, but his actions with regards to others.
Did you watch the Oscars this year?  Some felt it was ‘boring.’  They couldn’t pinpoint anything (we covered the Academy Awards with “MEDIA: Male norms, Russia hate and lots of excuses -- it's the 90th Academy Awards”) because they weren’t talking about the actual ceremony.  What they were commenting on was actually the competition.  For the first time in forever, it was not a blood sport.  That’s what Harvey led each year.  Ron Howard, Kathryn Bigelow, so many others were ripped apart as part of his campaigns.  He paid people to attack films.  It was ugly and it had nothing to do with art.  He pissed off directors, he pissed off studios.  He had been doing that since the mid-90s.  It became a serious issue when he led the paid attack on A BEAUTIFUL MIND.   Each year, it got worse.  These little stunts eroded support for him year after year.  When reporters tried to report the truth in years past, they were blocked from doing so.  Because Harvey was persona non grata, the truth could finally be told.
We explained this in real time.  But people were convinced, they just knew, that everything had changed and suddenly women were supported.
And that is the lesson, the true lesson.
Illeana bravely comes forward and look at the response.  She’s attacked by some women.  She’s ignored by others.  Because Leslie still had support and power.  He assaulted women and was exposed for doing so and people like CAA’s Alyssa Milano were not rallying against him.  Because Leslie still had value to them.
Illeana was very brave and her actions demonstrate that one person can make a difference. 

But let’s be honest about what she was up against.


 Ronan’s original report included multiple women.  We focus on Illeana because we know her and because one of us – C.I. – had already heard from Martin Scorse about what Moonves had done before THE NEW YORKER article.

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