It’s been a minute since we’ve talked about disgraced industry moguls Harvey Weinstein and Les Moonves, both toppled in the wake of a damning series of sexual assault and misconduct allegations. But don’t worry! Those guys are still out there, facing karmic/corporate/legal justice for their actions. In fact, this week The New York Times got ahold of some leaked documents that offer a pretty heartwarming glimpse into what they’ve been up to lately — assuming your heart is warmed by proof that these guys are scrambling like cockroaches, that is.
Let’s start with Weinstein, who is right back on his sh*t apparently. No, not his casting couch sh*t — his marketing maestro sh*t. The man who turned indie hits into awards season darlings has apparently been quietly campaigning on his own behalf these past few months, working to discredit his accusers and paint himself as a victim of mistreatment as legal cases against him loom. And the Times has the receipts, in the form of a pleading email he apparently sent to a few close friends recently:
“I’ve had one hell of a year,” began an email Mr. Weinstein wrote on Monday from his personal email address. “The worst nightmare of my life.”
The message, which went on to criticize police investigators, quickly leaked out in Hollywood, drawing a torrent of outrage from women who have accused Mr. Weinstein of harassment or assault, and from many others.
His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said the email had been sent by Mr. Weinstein to several close friends, and was not part of any legal strategy.
(And just a side note, but Brafman is in the header image, beside Weinstein. He’s the Paulie “Walnuts”-looking motherf*cker, which OF COURSE Weinstein would be repped by a Sopranos character. Of course he would. Moving on…)
Weinstein maintains that all of his encounters were consensual, and his email apparently linked to articles that his team believes are sensationalizing the cases against him. But here’s the part that made me laugh (emphasis mine):
“As you can see from these articles,” Mr. Weinstein wrote, linking to several news stories, “the police have played a very difficult role in my investigation.”
He added, “The articles are self explanatory, but I’d like to speak to you on the phone if you have some time. There is more to this story … I appreciate your confidentiality.
“Have a read of these articles,” the email continued. “I wish I didn’t have to ask, but I’d be very appreciative of your time. Best, Harvey.”
OH, HAVE THE POLICE BEEN DIFFICULT? I think what you mean to say is that the police have been doing their jobs, Harvey.
It’s not really clear what he hoped to gain with this bid to his friends. After all, if they ARE still his friends, then they probably believe him already — but that doesn’t mean they’ll stand up for him publicly, or that they’d have any influence even if they did. But what is clear is that, one way or another, Weinstein is attempting to shift the negative narrative by positioning his Goliath as a David. Despite the dozens of allegations against him, he’s only facing two legal cases, and there’s no telling how those will pan out (a third case has already been dismissed). But even if those fall apart and he avoids any legal repercussions, I’m not sure if all the spin in the world would get him back in the public’s good graces.
And speaking of investigators, former CBS CEO Les Moonves has been cooperating with the ones CBS hired to look into the sexual misconduct allegations against him, right? Oh wait, no. Apparently he’s “destroyed evidence and misled investigators in an attempt to preserve his reputation and save a lucrative severance deal,” according to a draft of the investigative report that will soon be turned over to the CBS Board (and was reviewed by the Times in advance).
At stake is Moonves’s contractual severance package, which is reported to be worth about $120 million dollars — so I get why he might be trying to cover his ass on this. But all it takes is proof that the company had justification to fire him. So… do they?
“Based on the facts developed to date, we believe that the board would have multiple bases upon which to conclude that the company was entitled to terminate Moonves for cause,” the report says.
Cool. Coolcoolcool. Moonves’s lawyer maintains that his client denies any nonconsensual sexual relations and that he “cooperated extensively and fully with investigators.” And the investigators are like, nah:
Mr. Moonves told lawyers for CBS in January, and again in August, that an unnamed actress had accused him of sexually assaulting her in the 1990s. But he did not disclose that the manager had pushed him to find her work, or that Mr. Moonves had used CBS resources to do so. Investigators also discovered that Mr. Moonves had deleted many of his hundreds of texts with Mr. Dauer, and handed over his son’s iPad instead of his own.
The Times article also includes new information on the allegations against Moonves, for those keeping tabs. But perhaps the most revolting piece of information is the one the investigators were unable to fully verify: Moonves’s alleged on-call blowjob staffer.
Investigators wrote that they had received “multiple reports” about a network employee who was “on call” to perform oral sex on Mr. Moonves.
“A number of employees were aware of this and believed that the woman was protected from discipline or termination as a result of it,” the lawyers wrote. “Moonves admitted to receiving oral sex from the woman, his subordinate, in his office, but described it as consensual.”
The woman did not respond to the investigators’ requests for an interview.
Mr. Levander, Mr. Moonves’s lawyer, said Mr. Moonves had “never put or kept someone on the payroll for the purpose of sex.”
CBS declined to comment.
You’re welcome for that mental image, by the way.
So, in summary: the mighty have seemingly fallen, after all. Weinstein, once a master manipulator, whose influence was built on power and fear, is now begging his friends to call him. And Moonves has resorted to stealing his son’s gadgets and passing them off as his own. But hey, at least they’ll always have the memory of the decades they spent forcing women to perform sexual favors for career advancement to keep them warm at night, right? That, and the millions of dollars they earned while doing so.
They’ll be fine.
Header Image Source: Getty Images