Illeana Douglas Recalls Alleged Les Moonves Assault: "I Thought of Him as a Father Figure"
The actress opened up about her allegations against the former CBS CEO on Tuesday's 'The View.'
Illeana Douglas stopped by The View on Tuesday to discuss her sexual misconduct allegations against former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves.
The actress recalled auditioning for a CBS show called Queens. After being cast in the project, she said Moonves called her into his office. "All I wanted to do was tell him what a team player I was going to be, to be in the show. How excited I was," she said about her feelings before going into the meeting. "He started asking 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, you know, jumping on top of me and putting his tongue down my throat and pinning me down on the coach."
She continued, "I thought of him as a father figure. I would've had no concern with the fact that it was just he and I in the meeting, even though every meeting previously, cause I had a development deal, there'd always been three, four people in the room. The purpose of the meeting was, 'You and I should just get together and talk this out and make sure we don't have any issues,' and that was the frame of mind in which I entered the room."
After the incident took place, Moonves told Douglas that they should keep what happened in the meeting between the two of them, she says. The actress said that she then went to her car and began to cry before her manager called to ask how the meeting had gone. "I said, 'Why?' And she said, "Because Les just called me' and I said, 'What did he say?' and she said, 'He said you guys had a lot of fun.'"
Shortly after the meeting, Douglas was fired from the series "due to poor performance during rehearsal." Douglas said, "I think what he's referring to is my poor performance when we were alone together in his office."
Douglas said that after the initial incident, she felt that it would happen again. "When I was on the set, and I saw Mr. Moonves on the set when you do the run-through and we made eye contact, that's when I thought, 'Yeah, This is gonna happen again. This is a problem,'" she recalled. "I tried to look for someone to tell, but I didn't tell anyone until after I was fired and Mr. Moonves called me personally to fire me."
Moonves admitted to kissing Douglas, but claims that he did not sexually assault her. "I respond to that by saying that I fully plan to cooperate with the investigation of CBS," she said. "In 1997, we reported this and if nothing was done about it in 1997, that's on CBS."
Douglas previously went on record with her allegations in a story written by Ronan Farrow for the New Yorker. She said the former CBS CEO tried to kiss and grab her. "What it feels like to have someone hold you down — you can't breathe, you can't move," Douglas told Farrow as she detailed an incident in the late 1990s, "the physicality of it was horrendous."
"Real change will occur when victims of sexual assaults are not stigmatized as whistle-blowers, or people with some kind of agenda for coming forward. Real change will occur when opportunities to work at companies where assaults have occurred are no longer condoned," Douglas later said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter following the publication of the New Yorker story. "Speaking for myself, real change will occur when I can walk through the front doors of CBS and resume the creative and working relationship that was so tragically cut short in 1997."