Television producer Linda Bloodworth Thomason has just come forward with more heinous stories and allegations against former CBS CEO, Leslie Moonves.
In a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday morning, Thomason -- creator of one of CBS' biggest '80s and '90s sitcoms, "Designing Women" -- claimed the disgraced mogul kept her shows off the air for seven years. She also described his reign at CBS as "immoral, bullying, misogynist."
"Like a lot of women in Hollywood, I am happy to dance on his professional grave," she wrote.
Thomason made clear from the get-go that she was "never sexually harassed or attacked by Les Moonves." His "destruction" -- she claimed -- was "much more subtle."
Moonves took over CBS in 1995. Before that time, Thomason was thriving as a showrunner. She said then-chairman and president (Howard Stringer and Jeff Sagansky, respectively) had given her free reign "to tackle any subject, including sexual harassment, domestic violence and pornography" on "Designing Women." Thomason said that did not last during Moonves' reign.
Early into Moonves' time as CEO of the network, Thomason said someone delivered her the message that Moonves "hated 'Designing Women' and their loud-mouthed speeches." At the time, she was producing a new pilot, "Fully Clothed Non-Dancing Women," which was never picked up.
"[Moonves] showed up at the first table read and took a chair directly across from mine (actress Illeana Douglas, who later accused him of sexual harassment, sat next to me)," Thomason wrote, adding she "felt confident" she would be able to "charm him." She was wrong.
Thomason said Moonves stared at her throughout the entire "Fully Clothed" pilot reading "with eyes that were stunningly cold, as in, 'You are so dead.'"
"As soon as the pilot was completed, Moonves informed me that it would not be picked up," she wrote. "I was at the pinnacle of my career. I would not work again for seven years."
For those seven years, Thomason said she "continued trying to win over Moonves" but that he "continued turning down every pilot" she wrote.
"Often, if he would catch me in the parking lot, he would make sure to tell me that my script was one of the best he'd read but that he had decided, in the end, not to do it," she said. "It always seemed that he enjoyed telling me this."
Thomason also said she was told Moonves would refuse to give her scripts to any of the stars he had under contract. She then began to hear stories from fellow female CBS employees about his "mercurial, misogynist behavior, with actresses being ushered in and out of his office."
Thomason said she was told Moonves' mantra was, "Why would I wanna cast 'em if I don't wanna f--k 'em?" Thomason went on to call him "an angry bully who enjoyed telling people, 'I will tear off the top of your head and piss on your brain!'"
Thomason also said a "famous actress" revealed to her she had been sexually assaulted by Moonves in his office. Thomason did not reveal the woman's name.
"Coming off the cancellation of her iconic detective show, the star began pitching a new one," Thomason said of the fellow CBS employee. "[Moonves] 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."
"Over the years, even when an actress managed to get one of my scripts through an agent, the deal would immediately be killed," Thomason continued. "It was like a personal vendetta and I will never know why. Was it because I was championing the New South? Or an admittedly aggressive, feminist agenda? Or both? When the legendary Bette Midler informed Moonves that she wanted to do a series with me, I'm told he denied her request. When the singer Huey Lewis, whom Les had become enamored with, chose me to write a pilot for him, his contract was canceled."
"When I finally realized he was never going to put a show of mine on the air, I left," Thomason added. "It was never really about the money anyway, I just wanted to work. People asked me for years, 'Where have you been? What happened to you?' Les Moonves happened to me."
Thomason also noted that, before Moonves' reign, the walls of CBS studios were adorned with the faces of the network's most "iconic women," including Valerie Harper who played Rhoda in "Mary Tyler Moore," Bea Arthur who played the lead in "Maude," Candice Bergen who played the lead in "Murphy Brown," and the cast of "Designing Women." Sometime during Moonves' decades as CEO of CBS, those portraits disappeared.
"I don't know why, and I didn't ask," Thomason said. "I just know that the likes of them have rarely been seen on that network again. Thanks to Les Moonves, I can only guess they all became vaginal swabs in crime labs on 'CSI Amarillo.'"
Thomason said on the day she officially parted ways with the network, her agent asked Moonves what he should tell her. According to Thomason, Moonves told her agent, "Tell her to go f--k herself!"
Moonves resigned from his position at CBS on Sunday after a total of 12 women accused him of sexual assault and harassment. Moonves told The New Yorker that he recognized three of the sexual encounters detailed in Ronan Farrow's New Yorker exposé but said they were consensual. He did not specify which ones.
Later that day, Julie Chen rushed to her husband's defense, saying in a statement, "I have known my husband, Leslie Moonves, since the late '90s, and I have been married to him for almost 14 years. Leslie is a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader. He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being. I fully support my husband and stand behind him and his statement."
On Wednesday morning, CBS News president David Rhodes announced Jeff Fager would be "leaving the company effective immediately."
"Bill Owens will manage the '60 Minutes' team as Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews and I begin the search for a new executive producer of the program," he said, adding that Fager's departure from CBS "is not directly related to the allegations surfaced in press reports, which continue to be investigated independently. However, he violated company policy and it is our commitment to uphold those policies at every level."
Fager released a statement shortly after, saying "the company's decision had nothing to do with the false allegations printed in The New Yorker."
Jeff Fager's statement to CNN: "The company's decision had nothing to do with the false allegations printed in The New Yorker." 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/QyF5as5m8L