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Philippe Dauman Calls Viacom-Redstone Beef a ‘Temporary’ Distraction

Fightin’ CEO says recent court rulings provide ”positive steps that move us ahead“

Philippe Dauman didn’t run Thursday from the drama surrounding both him personally and the entirety of Viacom, but the CEO’s comments were limited due to ongoing litigation.

Dauman kicked off his third-quarter 2016 earnings conference call with a prepared admission that this squabbling against boss Sumner Redstone and family has “created an overhang for our company.”

But recent court rulings have provided the Viacom side with “positive steps that move us ahead,” Dauman added. He has been able to gain access to Redstone’s medical records but hasn’t yet gotten the go-ahead to force a new mental competency evaluation on the ailing 93-year-old.

A little later, when asked, the embattled executive admitted that this whole mess has been a “distraction” in recent negotiations.

“Obviously, it’s somewhat of a distraction, but we’re not deterred,” he said. “Probably the biggest impact has been on the ability to move rapidly on the Paramount transaction.”

The box-office-struggling Paramount Pictures would have sold off a portion of its interest one month ago if the Redstone camp hadn’t halted such movement. Shari Redstone and her dad don’t want to sell. They’ve also been moving to neutralize — if not outright fire — Dauman. Courts are currently looking into the legality of their motions.

“In the scope of time, it will be viewed as temporary,” Dauman optimistically concluded of this dark period in the publicly traded corporation’s highly public history.

Read all about Viacom’s Q3 financials here.