A "monthslong cascade of hundreds of text messages" could cost Les Moonves $120 million. That's the crux of a New York Times expose that details a triangle with the former head of CBS, a floundering Hollywood manager, and an actress who once "radiated star power"—and who says Moonves forced her to perform oral sex on him in 1995. It was a March day that year when Bobbie Phillips, then in her mid-20s, says she had a meeting with Moonves arranged for her by her new manager, Marv Dauer. After arriving, she says Moonves exposed himself and then "grabbed her by the neck, pushed her to her knees, and forced his penis into her mouth." Moonves tells the Times "I strongly believe" the encounter was "consensual," but Phillips says she soon went into a spiral that left her having anxiety attacks and scared to go on auditions or take meetings. She retired from acting in 2003.
Dauer says she told him about the Moonves incident the day after it happened—"I didn't want to push her, but she told me he violated her." Though Moonves and Dauer lost touch over the years, a "secret correspondence" between them started up again in late 2017 when rumors about Moonves' possible "#MeToo problem" started circulating after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke. Dauer says Moonves implored him to reach out to Phillips to keep her quiet as the two men tried to find her acting gigs (she had started acting again). "If Bobbie talks, I'm done," were Moonves' words, per Dauer. Why Moonves could lose his $120 million severance package from CBS: A source tells the Times he deleted "many" texts between himself and Dauer; Dauer kept them, and the Times reprints a number of them. CBS investigators could consider that obstruction of their probe, which means Moonves would be fired "for cause"—and CBS wouldn't be required to pay up. Read the full story here. (The creator of Designing Women had something to say about Moonves.)