CBS boss Les Moonves was so incensed by Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the network’s 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that he sought to ban her from all CBS and Viacom properties and undercut her career, according to a report Thursday by HuffPost reporter Yashar Ali.
Citing multiple unnamed sources, Ali wrote that Moonves considered the singer insufficiently repentant following the Super Bowl incident, in which Justin Timberlake pulled at Jackson’s bustier and exposed her nipple for just over half a second.
Both singers insisted the exposure was accidental, but CBS was fined $550,000 by the FCC for the live breach of broadcast standards.
According to Ali’s sources, Moonves nixed Jackson’s planned performance at the 2004 Grammys later that month, ordered VH1 and MTV to stop playing her videos and directed Viacom-owned radio stations to pull her songs from their playlists. (CBS was then a division of Viacom, though it was spun off into an independent company in 2006.)
Even seven years after the Super Bowl controversy, Ali wrote, Moonves became angry when he learned that Viacom’s Simon & Schuster publishing division had signed a book deal with Jackson for “True You: A Journey to Finding Yourself.”
According to Ali, Moonves told one individual, “How the f— did she slip through?”
Reps for CBS and Jackson did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment.
Moonves is currently negotiating with the CBS board for his possible exit from the company just months after The New Yorker reported multiple accusations of sexual harassment against him, according to an individual with knowledge of the talks.
Executive Compensation 2017: Top TV, Film and Tech Bosses Ranked by Pay (Photos)
There's no business like show business, and few bank on that fact yearly quite like Hollywood's top executives.
Scroll through our gallery for to see top TV, film and digital executives ranked by their 2017 executive compensation (updating as more companies release their top execs' packages).
Bob Bakish Viacom CEO 2016: N/A (Predecessor Philippe Dauman made $93 million, thanks to golden parachute) 2017: $20.3 Million Change: N/A
The man at the opposite end of Moonves' very long (we imagine) negotiating table. Bakish is tight with National Amusements controller Shari Redstone, and both of them want the Viacom chief to be Moonves' No. 2 should the re-merger happen.
Ted Sarandos Netflix Chief Content Officer 2016: $18.9 million 2017: $22.4 million Change: +19%
Netflix added 20 million streamers and unleashed a slew of new content in 2017, including "Icarus," the drugs-in-cycling documentary that went on to win an Oscar. At the same time, its share price jumped 50 percent (before rocketing in 2018). Sarandos should take a bow -- and buy a very nice villa in the Mediterranean with his raise.
Reed Hastings Netflix President, Chairman and CEO 2016: $23.2 million 2017: $24.4 million Change: +5%
The Netflix head honcho joined the billionaire's club for the first time in 2017, thanks in large part to the company's gamble on original content paying off in spades. He's not taking a victory lap yet, though, with the streaming giant still firmly set on taking over Hollywood. At CodeCon 2017, he said he's always telling his content team to "get more aggressive," rather than "drive toward conformity."
Steve Burke NBCUniversal CEO 2016: $46.07 million 2017: $46.5 million Change: +0.9%
Burke's overall take for 2017 was roughly flat compared with 2016, but the NBCUniveral CEO managed to again bring in more than his boss at parent company Comcast.
Jeff Bewkes Time Warner CEO 2016: $32.6 million 2017: $49 million Change: +50%
Bewkes damn near matched his entire 2016 pay in 2017 stock options. Sometimes it's not so terrible for your company to be bought out. (You know, if the DOJ allows it.) Half of the Bewkes stock haul covers 2018, too -- an incentive to stick around through this merger.
Leslie Moonves CBS Chairman, President and CEO 2016: $69.6 million 2017: $69.3 million Change: No material change
CBS has been "America's Most-Watched Network" for more than a decade under Moonves, but is any amount of money worth that headache that this possible realignment with Viacom comes with? OK, still yes.