Sumner Redstone "Makes His Own Decisions," Manipulation Suggestions Are "Absurd," Daughter Shari Says

Shari Redstone - H 2015
Eric Ogden

"As to the idea that Shari, an attorney and respected businesswoman, would ‘unlawfully’ use his name, that is utterly ridiculous,” a rep says about suggestions from Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman.

A representative for Shari Redstone early on Monday issued a response to suggestions by Viacom chairman and CEO Philippe Dauman that she was behind his and Viacom board member George Abrams' removal from a trust that will eventually control Viacom and CBS Corp. as announced via fax by her father Sumner Redstone late Friday.

“It is absurd for anyone to accuse Shari of manipulating her father or controlling what goes on in his household," said the Monday statement on behalf of Shari Redstone. "Sumner makes his own decisions regarding whom he wants to see both in his home and elsewhere, and he has his own team of independent advisors to counsel him on corporate and other matters."

It added: "As to the idea that Shari, an attorney and respected businesswoman, would ‘unlawfully’ use his name, that is utterly ridiculous.”

Dauman, a longtime Redstone confidant, on Friday attacked Shari Redstone after news of the trust changes. "These steps are invalid and illegal," he said through a spokesperson. "They are a shameful effort by Shari Redstone to seize control by unlawfully using her ailing father Sumner Redstone's name and signature. As she knows, and as court proceedings and other facts have demonstrated, Sumner Redstone now lacks the capacity to have taken these steps. Sumner Redstone would never have summarily dismissed Philippe Dauman and George Abrams, his trusted friends and advisors for decades."

One new member expected to be named to the Redstone trust, which will control Viacom and CBS once Sumner Redstone dies or is incapacitated, is Thaddeus Jankowski, the senior vp and general counsel of National Amusements, seen as being close to Shari Redstone who as president of National Amusements is in a position of authority over Jankowski. Sumner Redstone controls Viacom and CBS through National Amusements.

Over the weekend, Shari Redstone said only: "I fully support my father's decisions and respect his authority to make them."

Sumner Redstone later released a statement refuting allegations that Shari, 62, was isolating him in a bid to seize control of his media empire.

In remarks shared by spokesman Mike Lawrence, the mogul rejected what he called Dauman's "opportunistic claims" that he was incapacitated. "Sumner Redstone remains today as Phillippe Dauman described him less than six months ago: 'engaged, attentive, and as opinionated as ever.' "