Transcript for Illeana Douglas details her allegations against Les Moonves
Actress, writer, cheed Yan illeana Douglas is one of the women that spoke out saying they were victims of sexual assault by former CBS chief, les moonves and she joins us now to share her story for the very first time on TV. Please welcome a fine actor, illeana Douglas. Thank you. Yes. In 1996, you were working on a development deal at CBS. Yes. What was your relationship with les like at that time? Well, at the time it was great. I had just come from New York. I was, you know, had done a bunch of movies, and I just did a movie called “Grace of my heart,” which was a huge success, and so I was courted but all the studios to do what he did in those days, TV production deal, and I met with them all, but I decided on CBS and I had a very familial feeling growing up, watching “The Carol Burnett show,” and “The Jeffersons”, and we only watched CBS and I signed with them and developed a script which was about my early days. Workplace comedy. Right. And I know. Didn’t make it on the air because of you know who, and — but anyway, they didn’t go ahead with that pilot, but Mr. Moonves called me. They really wanted me on CBS, telling me I was going to be, you know, such a big star. They had this show which was called “Queens” with pa nel pea Reid, and I did a chemistry read with them. It was through the roof. Even though you’re under a deal, you audition for the show. There were about 30 people there that day. Les hugged me. It was through the roof. He is, like, you guys, you’re going to be the next “”Laverne and Shirley”. Then he pulled you into his office, right? Then, right after the chemistry read and we’re going to start the show and everything is great, that’s when I — I received a call saying he is a little concerned about your attitude because I was transitioning now from a writer/producer to simply being a co-star in the show. These are all the things that I was told, so I can only go by that. So what happened there? So, you know, I go to his office and, you know, I’m — I have my clipboard and my notes and all I wanted to do was just tell him what a team player I was going to be, to be in the show and how excited I was. And then? Then he started asking me, you know, obviously it’s, like, we put on the record, you know, he started to ask me a lot of personal questions and I was stumbling and fumbling and not really knowing what to say, and that of course, led to him jumping on top of me and putting his tongue down my throat. He just jumps on top of you? That’s — the moments again, when it starts to happen to you as many women say, you just go on this autopilot. I hadn’t had — believe it or not, I had heard about casting couch experiences, but I hadn’t come from that. I had come from an artistic bubble of doing low budget independent films and, you know, I respected him. I thought of him as a father figure. I would have had no concern the fact that it was just he and I in the meeting even though every meeting previously because I had a development deal, there had always been three or four people in the room, but the purpose of the meeting was, like, you and I should just get together and talk this out and make sure we don’t have any issues. Right. And that was the frame of mind with which I entered the room, and believe it or not as crazy as it sounds, you know, the human mind and the human body doesn’t want to go, oh my god. Something horrible is happening to me right now. Instead, you deny, deny, deny. And you were able to do — ultimately get out of that office. What happened from then on? What was going through your mind? Did you tell anybody what happened? So initially so he, you know, once he sort of saw I wasn’t participating, he stopped and I just wanted to get, you know, out of the room. Again just being on autopilot. He made me, you know, we’re going to keep this between you and me, right? We’re not going to tell anyone about this, and I really, you know, I was, like, no. No. Don’t tell anyone. I just wanted to get the heck out of there, and what happened to me which is why initially I believe I didn’t tell anyone is I got to my car. I was sitting in the parking lot of CBS and I broke down crying and my phone rang and it was my manager asking me how the meeting had gone, and I said, why? And she said, because les just called me. And I said, what did he say? He said you guys had a lot of fun. That’s his idea of fun. But a few days later, you were replaced on the sitcom and your deal with CBS was canceled. You say that les moonves derailed your career at CBS, but it was reported that you were let go due to poor performance during rehearsal. Only one day though, right? I was there for three days. What is your response to that? I think what he is referring to had my poor performance when we were alone together in his office. I think that’s what he is referring to. Was he worried you were going to tell somebody? Was he mad you didn’t respond the way he wanted you to? Obviously because I never had an experience like that — I had a friend staying with me. His name was Craig Chester. He is in the article and corroborated what I said. I did tell him because we were new to Hollywood. We said, I guess this is what happens in Hollywood and we didn’t tell anyone. When I was on the set and I saw Mr. Moonves on the set, and we made eye contact. That’s when I thought, yeah. This is going to happen again. This is a problem. And I tried to look for someone to tell, but I didn’t tell anyone until after — once I was fired and Mr. Moonves called me personally to fire me. I have never been fired in my life. I have been in show business since 1987. Do you think he was mad because you rejected him? Well, the interesting thing is we’re going to talk about carefully crafted legal statements by these powerful men, and we don’t know. We can guess. I mean, did I maybe look like I was traumatized and not landing my jokes correctly on the show? Maybe. Did his rise to power happen so quickly that it was dangerous for me to be there? But all I know is in all the years that I have worked, I have done 14 shows on ABC, 14, and I have been — I love this network. It’s a great network. And you have never had a performance issue. I have done 11 shows on NBC. I worked at fox and lifetime and oxygen and since this occurred, I have only worked on CBS two times. One was a personal connection with James woods, the show was “Shark”, and the other time was “CSI.” Ironically about legal statements, in an e-mail to ABC news, a spokesperson said moonves has no new statements to issue. He acknowledges trying to kiss you, but denies any characterization of sexual assault, intimidation or retaliatory action. How do you respond to that? I respond to that by saying that I fully plan to cooperate with the investigation of CBS and I will be handing over — I have a fantastic lawyer. My lawyer — this is how I met my lawyer, so bill Sobel, had in 1997, he was the head of CBS business affairs. There are two people’s names on the paperwork and their names are on it. In 1997, we reported this, and if nothing was done about it in
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