Howard Stern went on a 45-minute rant about CBS CEO Leslie Moonves on Monday’s (Aug. 6) episode of his SiriusXM radio show. Stern, who has made it known he isn’t a fan of Moonves for nearly two decades, brought up the recent allegations against the executive, who was accused of sexual misconduct by six women in a recent New Yorker exposé.
“Les tried to ruin my life,” Stern said, delving into his own history with Moonves, whom he called “Tony Soprano.” Twelve years ago, CBS filed a $500 million lawsuit against Stern, claiming he had breached his contract with CBS by failing to disclose the details of his new deal with Sirius while still employed at CBS Radio (then known as Infinity Broadcasting) and that Stern had promoted his new gig while still on the air at CBS.
Stern went into the backstory of the lawsuit on his Monday show. “I had done a pretty good job for these guys, kept their stations afloat, quite frankly, and made them a lot of money, and it was a nice way to end,” he said, noting he had said pleasant goodbyes to Moonves and the other execs. Once he got to Sirius, he was “socked” with the lawsuit. “How do you defend against a corporation? You know they have endless money to fuck with you with lawyers,” Stern said of his mindset at the time, adding: “I was so panicked because this is scary. … I knew this was just some sort of bad, like, ‘We’re going to fuck with you because you’re leaving us.’ It’s like a stalker who says, ‘You know what? You left me, we broke up, but I’m going to fuck your life up.’ And I didn’t do jack shit to Les Moonves, except make him money, and I was pissed and upset and scared.”
He went on to add: “I don’t have the kind of funds. They were trying to drain me financially. He was trying to fuck me. You think he was fucking women? He was going to fuck me right up the ass — with no lube.” He also mocked Moonves by saying the exec had complained to Stern that he “ruined his birthday” by making the switch to CBS on that particular date.
Stern added that he met with Moonves at the time to try to “explain myself to him” and became emotional during the meeting. “When I say emotional, I start crying in front of Les. I’ve never really admitted that before. I start crying, actual tears,” Stern said. During the meeting, Stern later became enraged, telling Moonves he was going to “unleash hell on earth on you. We’re going to war, and I’m going to win.”
The lawsuit was settled in May 2006, with Sirius ponying up $2 million and Stern getting control of the master tapes from his time at CBS. Other terms were not disclosed. Years later, Stern said, he was at an event in Mexico where Moonves and a bunch of other Hollywood bigwigs were present and while Stern kept things cordial, he kept thinking in the back of his mind: “It’s hard to forget that you tried to wreck me for no reason.”
This isn’t the first time Stern has made his feelings known about Moonves. On Monday, Stern played a clip from his own show in 2001 in which he called Moonves a “snake” repeatedly and said “no one should ever do business with him.” And in March 2006, he appeared on CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman wearing a T-shirt featuring a photo of Moonves and wife Julie Chen that read “I Hate Les Moonves.”
Speaking to Letterman, Stern said: “I believe you are working for one of the biggest jerks on the planet. You’ve worked for jerks and bullies who hide behind their press agents. Les Moonves is a bully.” He also brought up Moonves’ past as an actor, quipping, “CBS took a C-list actor from The Love Boat and made him CEO.”
Stern on Monday said he booked that appearance — on Moonves’ “own network” — to “embarrass” the exec: “The guy can’t stand to be publicly embarrassed. … He’s very worried about his image.” Stern also hinted he had damaging information that he was planning to release if the lawsuit had dragged on, but Moonves “was like France. He gave right up. Welcomed the Nazis right in. The war was over. … This guy caved like there was no caving ever in the history of show business.”
Stern said he was able to “drop my anger” given that he got control of his own recordings. The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to CBS for comment.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.