Redstone still outrageous

Portfolio's Lloyd Grove has a go with the media mogul everybody loves to hate. Somehow the guy manages to come off as even more obnoxious than last we remember (quite an achievement). For one thing, he keeps insisting that he'll live forever.

But surely he will someday die, won’t he? “I won’t! I’m telling you I won’t!” he shouted, and it wasn’t entirely clear he was joking. He compared himself with the title character of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the movie about an octogenarian who ages in reverse that was co-produced by Viacom’s troubled Paramount Pictures. “Your headline,” the old mogul suggests, “should be ‘The Curious Case of Sumner Redstone.’ ”


A prominent talent agent trashes Redstone as “the most disliked man in Hollywood.” A former Viacom executive calls him “a scumbag,” while another claims he’s “the most egocentric human being you could ever run across.” “There’s a group of people he says are his friends,” adds this former Viacom executive, “who would happily cut his heart out with a rusty knife.”

Perhaps the pay-per-view guys might be interested… There's also quite a bit about Redstone and his wife Paula's pending divorce. At the time of the interview, Paula was still living at the mogul's compound in Beverly Park.

He has already bought two houses for her—a beachfront condo in Sarasota, Florida, and a house in Beverly Hills—both at a considerably lower altitude, in every respect, than the one in which she currently resides. Redstone declines to reveal what he paid, but he makes it clear that the houses will be in her name alone and that he is giving her substantially more than is required by their prenuptial agreement. (He won’t say how much more, but a source close to the family says the total is nearly twice the $5 million figure.)


Redstone says, “I’ve told her she can buy any kind of furniture she likes [for the Beverly Hills house]; there’s no limit at all on what she spends. As soon as it’s sufficiently furnished for her to move in, then she’ll move in. In the meanwhile, she stays in this house, and she’s welcome. I want Paula to be happy, to be well-off financially for the rest of her life.” As for dating other women, Redstone claims, “After I’m divorced, maybe. Maybe I will go out with women, but while I’m still married, the only woman I will take out is Paula.” Their friends talk about their sexual chemistry—and Sumner’s libido. “I had a feeling they were always playfully arguing with each other, saying ‘Go fuck yourself’ and holding hands,” says one frequent dinner companion. “Both of them love to talk about sex. Normally, if you make a dinner appointment with Sumner, he shows up on time, but if they show up 15 minutes, half an hour late, they might say, ‘We had sex four times today!”

But recently, the marriage had become increasingly tempestuous. The Redstones’ profanity-laced arguments were the talk of the entertainment industry. Sylvester Stallone, their next-door neighbor in Beverly Park, figures in a widely repeated anecdote that Redstone denies. According to two Hollywood insiders who spoke with Stallone and his wife, Jennifer Flavin, Redstone erupted a year ago at one of Arnold and Anne Kopelson’s regular Sunday-night movie screenings, when Redstone was anxious to leave and Paula tarried to schmooze with Stallone. “Why don’t you just fuck him already, so we can go home?” Redstone allegedly shouted. Stallone—who friends say was outraged by Redstone’s remark—declines to comment.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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