“Unscripted: The Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalists James B. Stewart and Rachel Abrams is out now and the book is startling many people with its revelations about Sumner Redstone, Les Moonves and more. The book goes into great detail about the sexual exploits of these two men and others and how they had people “clean up” their messes and get them information on their accusers. One such “fixer” was even an LAPD captain.
One example of Sumner Redstone’s debauchery is how he would ask his own grandson to introduce Redstone to young girls. And Redstone is also said to have loathed Donald Trump and even was known to use the “N” word when referring to former President Barack Obama.
Deadline says, “Co-authors and New York Times colleagues James Stewart and Rachel Abrams gleefully expand on what has already been known about the epic dysfunction that swirled around late patriarch Sumner Redstone. As their account emphasizes, the mercurial loyalties, sexual obsessions and physical and mental decline of the company’s founder fomented chaos at the former Viacom and CBS Corp. Part salacious soap opera, part business book/legal chronicle, it charts the downward spiral of Sumner as well as the downfall of Les Moonves, the media titan whose allies and enablers propped him up until the last minute.
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The New York Times says, “Unscripted” is a model of how gracefully to tell the most grotesque of stories: that of the final years of Sumner Redstone. A self-made business titan, the founder of Paramount Global, whose holdings included Viacom and CBS, Redstone spent his 90s obsessively manipulating the people around him as they sought to manipulate him.”
“The writing is elegant and the story so weird and compelling… that the reader may be the only witness to this spectacle who never feels manipulated. It is hard, though, to imagine anyone who reads this book not coming to some clear conclusions: Wealth and power can metastasize until they become toxic, destroying families, companies and countless lives.”
The publishers describe the book as “the shocking inside story of the struggle for power and control at Paramount, the multibillion-dollar entertainment empire controlled by the Redstone family, and the dysfunction, misconduct, and deceit that threatened the future of the company.”
A few years before his death at the age of 97, Sumner Redstone was already in trouble as his mental health deteriorated and his daughter Shari battled for control of his Viacom media empire. In 2016, Manuela Herzer, a former lover, threatened a lawsuit.
Sumner Redstone was a visionary. He built up Viacom into a behemoth of an entertainment company. He combined Paramount movie studios with the CBS television network under one roof.
When already in his 90s, Redstone had the clichéd old rich man’s problems from a failed relationship with a much younger woman. Sydney Holland was almost 50 years his junior. In the last years of Redstone’s life she was one of a number of women who tried to sue Mr. Redstone for various reasons. Holland complained that he broke a promise to marry her.
Mr. Redstone’s children stepped in to protect their father who they felt was being taken advantage of by young women who exploited his old age for their own benefit. Four years ago he stepped down as the head of Viacom and turned operational control of the company over to his daughter Shari Redstone.
Sumner Redstone was worth an estimated $2.6 billion when he died.