‘Designing Women’ creator details how Les Moonves derailed her career
Those are the words of Linda Bloodworth Thomason, a onetime TV hitmaker for CBS Corp. CBS, -0.47% , in a scathing guest column published Wednesday by the Hollywood Reporter.
Bloodworth Thomason, a writer and producer best known for her 1990s sitcoms “Designing Women” and “Evening Shade,” gave a detailed account of how she believes her career was derailed by Les Moonves, the longtime chief executive of CBS who was ousted Sunday following multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment.
“I was never sexually harassed or attacked by Les Moonves. My encounters were much more subtle, engendering a different kind of destruction,” she wrote, detailing an apparent vendetta Moonves had against her and her feminist views that essentially ruined her career.
After Moonves took over CBS in 1995, “Someone delivered the news that he especially hated ‘Designing Women’ and their loud-mouthed speeches,” she wrote. “I was at the pinnacle of my career. I would not work again for seven years.” Bloodworth Thomason said despite a $50 million, five-series deal she signed in 1992, Moonves rejected any project she was involved with. “He was an angry bully,” she wrote.
Bloodworth Thomason said she was familiar with allegations of harassment against Moonves, one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. She described one incident:
“Soon, I would hear how he had invited a famous actress to lunch in the CBS dining room. Coming off the cancellation of her iconic detective show, the star began pitching a new one. He informed her that she was too old to be on his network. She began to cry and stood up to go. He stood up too, taking her by the shoulders and telling her, ‘I can’t let you leave like this.’ She reacted, suddenly touched. Then he shoved his tongue down her throat. I know this happened because the star is the person who told me.”
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While she said she wished her message could be wise or inspiring to others, Bloodworth Thomason said “I don’t feel inspired anymore. I just feel angry.”
“The truth is, Les Moonves may never be punished in the way that he deserves. He will almost certainly never go to jail. And he has already made hundreds of millions of dollars during his highly successful and truly immoral, bullying, misogynist reign,” she wrote.
And she had a message for sexual predators in positions of power: “We are not going to stop until every last one of you is gone. We don’t care anymore if you go to jail or go to hell. Just know at some point that you are leaving.”
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