'Doesn't Really Matter' if Les Moonves Disputed, No Severance for the Man Who Wronged Janet Jackson

·3 min read
Leslie Moonves attends annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 5, 2016; Janet Jackson attends Gatsby Gala 2020 on January 30, 2020.
Leslie Moonves attends annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 5, 2016; Janet Jackson attends Gatsby Gala 2020 on January 30, 2020.

The great Celie (fantastically portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple) once said, “Until you do right by me, everything you think about is going to crumble.” That quote is forever relevant and is especially true for one Leslie Roy Moonves.

The former chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation who goes by “Les” will be receiving much less than he bargained for, with regard to his severance pay.

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According to documents obtained by the New York Times (shout-out to the delightfully curt phrase “receives nothing” in their headline), Les will not be receiving one dime of the $120 million severance package from CBS, despite legally disputing their 2018 decision to give him nothing. The money had been sitting in “a so-called grantor trust” as part of his separation agreement and would be released to him if CBS had found no grounds to fire him under his contract.

Les had stepped down from his post at CBS, following sexual misconduct allegations brought forth by more than a dozen women.

More detailed info about the dispute resolution via NYT:

On Friday, the matter came to a resolution nearly three years after it had begun, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “The assets of the grantor trust will revert to the company in their entirety,” it said.

The filing came from ViacomCBS. Mr. Moonves’s previous employer merged with a sibling company, Viacom, in December 2019, after protracted negotiations. Mr. Moonves adamantly opposed the merger plan when he was at the helm of CBS.

“The disputes between Mr. Moonves and CBS have now been resolved,” ViacomCBS said in a statement on Friday.

The company and Mr. Moonves also released a joint statement saying that Mr. Moonves had received money as part of a private settlement with a contractor that had been hired by CBS. The statement did not identify the contractor and added that Mr. Moonves would give all of that money to charity.

In addition to this particular creepy chicken coming home to roost, the news was certainly welcomed by Janet Jackson fans as the previous executive spent his time reportedly trying to ruin her career post-Super Bowl XXXVI instead of diving into a vat of gold coins a la Scrooge McDuck. The Super Bowl incident from the halftime performance with Justin Timberlake placed a spotlight on the phrase “wardrobe malfunction,” which the show’s stylist has recently denied.

Anyway, though the dispute resolution papers were filed on Friday, the news recirculated on Sunday, which marked Janet’s 55th birthday. The legendary artist celebrated her milestone born day by auctioning off 1,000 of her personal items with some of the proceeds going to child-advocacy group Compassion International. The auction seemed to go well, particularly in the case of Oscar-winning filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry, who copped a fitting item from Janet’s collection.

As for Les? Witnessing this fully cemented loss for him is pretty damn satisfying. It’s the “Pleasure Principle.”