Redstone Asks Reporter To Give Up Source
In an astonishing telephone recording, topped perhaps only by the recent recorded rants of Mel Gibson, Viacom and CBS Chairman Sumner Redstone has seemingly offered a bribe to a reporter for giving up the name of a source. The reporter, Peter Lauria of the Barry Diller-owned TheDailyBeast.com, had run a gossip piece claiming that Redstone had become "smitten" with an all-girl group, the Electric Barbarellas, was attempting to force MTV -- a Viacom unit -- to air a reality series about them and had spent upwards of $500,000 to promote them. Says Redstone in a voicemail to Lauria "You will be thoroughly protected. We're not going to hurt this guy. We just want to sit him down and find out why he did what he did. You will not in any way be revealed. You will be well-rewarded and well-protected." Lauria had cited sources within Viacom as saying that the pilot featuring the group was "unwatchable and the music just as bad." But Redstone said in the recording, "Your story said the girls have no talent. Obviously, intentionally or not, the story was false. I think I'm doing the right thing in talking to you because you were misled."