Moonves sexual harassment scandal recalls Wynn’s rapid fall from grace By John L. Smith, CDC Gaming Reports July 30, 2018 at 8:00 pm The subject was sexual harassment at the highest levels of American business, and investigative reporter Ronan Farrow was talking about powerful CBS CEO Leslie Moonves. It was impossible not to think of Steve Wynn. Farrow, whose stunning reporting on high-profile workplace sexual harassment has sent shockwaves through the culture, was speaking on CNN’s Erin Burnett Outfront following his withering of Moonves in The New Yorker.With on-the-record interviews and in painstaking detail, the article takes down Moonves and reveals him as a boorish casting couch media king. His victims spare few ugly details. Like the former Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn, Moonves was an undisputed powerhouse at the pinnacle of his profession. Like Wynn, his position gave him riches and celebrity. He had access to power, and power itself. Surrounded by sycophants, Moonves made careers — and allegedly shattered them. Feared and respected, his opinions were widely quoted. Most significantly, his personal style set the tone for the entire organization. As Farrow told Burnett, “What’s so significant here is you’re dealing both with an individual who is at the top of his game, and on whom many, many other powerful people depend for their livelihoods, and also a corporation that is at the apex of our culture, that shapes our news, that shapes our fiction that we consume.” Farrow’s byline became synonymous with the issue and the #MeToo movement last year after his investigation of sexual misconduct helped expose Miramar co-founder Harvey Weinstein and oust him from the pinnacle of the movie industry. Moonves’ alleged transgressions were egregious, but his reputation for everything from boorish, inappropriate advances to alleged sexual assault, set an example for other executives inside CBS. “And, as it turns out, in many facets of the company …, we do say that there are a string of examples, manifested in litigation and complaints inside the company, where people said, ‘This happened to me, too’” Farrow said. “This wasn’t just Les Moonves. This was a culture of protecting powerful people.” Not just a boss behaving badly, but a culture of protecting powerful people. Although six women told Farrow of alleged misconduct, The New Yorker article is at its most gut-wrenching when it details the ordeal of actress Illeana Douglas. She alleges she was sexually accosted by Moonves and suffered retaliation when she managed to escape. Moonves has denied acting inappropriately and, in a statement, said he’s never used his power to harm anyone’s career. Although she reported feeling intimidated for many years, eventually Douglas said she learned she wasn’t alone. Together, those stories tell eerily similar tales of sexual misconduct, attempts at control, and even payments in exchange for silence. Farrow said, exposing “Moonves is not what’s important about The New Yorker story. It’s bringing light to these kind of stories, which I think will resonate both for women and men in many industries.” Wynn’s career as a gaming industry legend and role as an important Republican Party influencer of President Donald Trump came crashing down in January after the publication of a blistering article in The Wall Street Journal. Among the allegations: That in 2005 in a confidential agreement Wynn paid $7.5 million to resolve an issue involving a Wynn Las Vegas manicurist. On Feb. 6, clinging to his flat denial that any accusations of sexual misconduct he called “preposterous,” Wynn resigned from the company he co-founded. Wynn remains in denial even after attorneys for ex-wife Elaine Wynn raised the issue of a corrupted corporate culture and a sycophantic board of directors loyal to the chairman. Despite substantial changes at the top and on the board, I strongly suspect the cuts aren’t finished at Wynn Resorts even after the recent departure of longtime corporate counsel Kim Sinatra. You may also expect substantial checks to be cut to resolve outstanding legal issues involving other accusers of Wynn, the ones who were so roundly ridiculed by his allies. Should that happen, it would do a great service to alleged victims everywhere if those settlements were made public. The last thing corporate America’s ongoing sexual harassment scandal needs is another confidentiality clause or nondisclosure agreement. Thanks to Wynn Resorts, that goes double for the casino industry. Contact John L. Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @jlnevadasmith.