Friday, June 02, 2023  |



One Year Later: Les Moonves, Showtime and Mayweather-McGregor

Photo: Esther Lin / Showtime
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On July 27, The New Yorker published an article by Ronan Farrow that details multiple allegations of sexual misconduct lodged against Les Moonves (chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation).

On July 30, the CBS board of directors voted to keep Moonves in his present position pending an investigation of the allegations against him as well as the broader culture at CBS. This investigation will be conducted by an outside law firm.

Moonves, for his part, issued a statement that reads, “I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected — and abided by the principle — that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career.”

A corporate CEO creates a culture in which values — good and bad — trickle down. The New Yorker article also references allegations of sexual harassment lodged against several other CBS executives, some of which resulted in quiet financial settlements.

What does this have to do with a boxing website?

A lot.

The first anniversary of the August 26, 2017, fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is approaching. For those with short memories, it’s worth recounting how Showtime (part of the CBS empire) promoted the pay-per-view telecast of that fight.

Photo: Rosie Cohe / Showtime

The Mayweather-McGregor media tour was marked by blatant misogyny, racism, and homophobia. There were stops in Los Angeles, Toronto, Brooklyn and London. During a promotional event at Barclays Center, McGregor told 13,165 screaming fans, “A lot of the media seem to be saying I’m against black people. That’s absolutely fucking ridiculous. Do they not know I’m half-black? Yeah. I’m half-black, from the belly button down. And just to show that that’s squashed, here’s a little present for my beautiful, black female fans.”

McGregor then began thrusting his pelvis back and forth with his microphone strategically placed between his legs to simulate sexual intercourse.

All four press conferences were posted online in their entirety by Showtime. During these events, Mayweather and McGregor branded each other a “cunt,” “bitch,” “pussy,” or “ho” more than 50 times. This was regarded as effective marketing by the promotion. Showtime offered no criticism of the misogyny, just as it was institutionally silent when Mayweather branded McGregor a “faggot.” After all, the network was increasing its visibility and stood to make a lot of money from the promotion.

One might add here that Mayweather has been criminally convicted for being physically abusive to women on multiple occasions and served 63 days in jail for one such offense. But there was no mention of that by Showtime during the Mayweather-McGregor promotion.

If Mayweather had called Les Moonves “a money-grubbing, hook-nosed Jew bastard,” that might have gotten Showtime’s attention. But in the context of Mayweather-McGregor, the network showed no concern for the women who work at Showtime or any other women.

As I wrote at the time, “Somewhere, as you read this, men who think that Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor are really cool role models are abusing women. The abuse will psychologically scar some of the women for life. Maybe one of the abusers will kill his victim.”

Now, thanks to Ronan Farrow, we know a little more about the culture at Showtime’s parent company.

And by the way; spare me the claim that my comment about hypothetically calling Les Moonves “a money-grubbing, hook-nosed Jew bastard” means that I’m anti-Semitic. I’m Jewish.

Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at [email protected] His next book – Protect Yourself At All Times – will be published by the University of Arkansas Press in September. He is currently a consultant to HBO Sports. However, this column is based on his views and not those of any other person or entity. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism