Thursday, June 16, 2016

As the Sumner Turns

Another day, another twist in the twisted life of Viacom/CBS chairman Sumner Redstone. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

“Sumner Redstone says he no longer trusts Viacom board or CEO.” Forget Alice in Wonderland - Things in Redstone-world just keep getting stranger. Redstone – who’s been absent from public view for a year – emailed Viacom board member Fred Salerno to say “I no longer trust [Executive Chair/CEO Philippe Dauman] or those who support him.” The Viacom board has requested a meeting with Sumner, but all they’re getting so far is this email. The Wall Street Journal reports the blunt email (from a typically blunt Redstone), and also the response by Salerno – “We could clear a lot of this up if Sumner would share his thoughts with me face to face.” Dauman questions Redstone’s mental capacity, and some in his camp suspect that Sumner’s daughter Shari is behind his recent change of mind about Viacom management and the board. But an amazing thing happened last week – the Journal says “after spending more than a year in seclusion, Mr. Redstone emerged to make a trip to Paramount’s Hollywood lot, where he chatted briefly with studio chief Brad Grey.” And this – “On Tuesday, he made a similar trip to CBS Chairman/CEO Leslie Moonves.” The Journal’s Joe Flint says “both conversations took place in the van transporting Mr. Redstone, who needs a nurse to translate his stroke-impaired speech.” A Viacom rep says the van-visits were “legal and publicity ploys.”