After months of court filings, pre-taped testimony and legal actions taken on their behalf, Sumner Redstone, his daughter Shari and Viacom chief executive Philippe Dauman are on the move.
The 93-year-old mogul turned up at Paramount Pictures’ Hollywood lot last Friday, an individual familiar with the visit told TheWrap. Shari transported Sumner for a brief meeting with studio head Brad Grey, who left the confines of the executive suite to greet the Redstone family. It was the elder Redstone’s first public appearance in a year.
After a brief exchange, Sumner went on to tour the grounds — the lot contains a building named for the mogul, which he owns through his control of Viacom parent National Amusements — while Shari and Grey continued discussions. The Hollywood Reporter first broke the news of the meeting.
In another development Tuesday, Shari has been added to the guest list of Paul Allen’s annual power summit in Sun Valley, Idaho — one that already has Dauman listed to attend, an individual familiar with the list told TheWrap.
That could be awkward because Dauman, Sumner Redstone’s longtime confidante, was just removed from a trust that will control his vast fortune if he dies or becomes incapacitated. Dauman contends in a lawsuit that Shari took advantage of her father’s poor health to orchestrate Dauman’s removal.
The retreat, which brings together titans of industry and high-profile media figures, will feature the Viacom CEO and the woman who seems deeply tied to her father and his recent efforts to overhaul the business.
In his still-active role as CEO to Paramount’s parent company, Dauman has made clear his intention to sell a minority stake in the legendary studio, despite the public battle raging between him and Shari. The Redstone Trust has made equally clear in statements that Sumner Redstone disapproves of the proposed sale.
On Tuesday, Viacom Board of Trustees member Fred Salerno wrote a lengthy open letter about his distress over his lack of access to Sumner, and that the board fears that Shari and other medical advisors have too much control over him.
“It is alarming that your representatives refuse us the opportunity to talk with you, express our perspectives, share our friendship, or understand directly from you what your wishes might be and why,” the letter reads. “And we are quite alarmed that your voice — and views — are not being heard.”
The letter goes on to dismiss reports that the board intends “to sell Paramount lock, stock and barrel, or that we would do it in the middle of the night and hide it from you,” adding, “Nothing could be further from the truth.”