8:00am PT by Chris Gardner
Les and Julie Chen Moonves Still Dining at Hollywood Hotspots
With all the restaurant bills Leslie Moonves has been racking up lately, he's going to need that $120 million in CBS severance he's been fighting over. The former CEO, 69, had been keeping a low profile since his ouster amid sexual harassment charges in September. But recently he and wife Julie Chen Moonves, 49, have been dining at high-visibility industry canteens like Craig's and Sunset Tower.
Sources say the renewed socializing is Chen's idea; she returned in January as host of CBS' Celebrity Big Brother and wants to put on a confident face. According to crisis PR expert Howard Bragman, that's not necessarily a bad strategy. "People in their position make a personal decision — either hide in a bunker or get out and hold their heads up high," he says. "I expect few people to treat him with anything but the greatest respect, publicly."
Not so fast. Kathy Griffin confirmed on Twitter Jan. 10 that while dining at Beverly Hills Hotel's Polo Lounge — once a controversial place to break bread that has come back into favor with industry elite — she asked a server for a new table after spotting ousted Les Moonves sitting nearby. “I don’t like sitting next to rapists,” she tweeted later that day in response to Variety's Ramin Setoodeh.
One could presume that it was smoother sailing over the holiday break when Les and Julie were reportedly guests on David Geffen's yacht, Rising Sun, per Page Six.
A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.