Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Sumner Redstone's Many Gigs: Viacom Chairman, Girl-Band Promoter, Leak Plugger!

Maybe Sumner Redstone has too much time on his hands.

Last month we learned, from the Daily Beast’s Peter Lauria, that the Viacom (VIA) chairman was moonlighting as a talent promoter: Redstone was reportedly trying to get his MTV channel to run an unwatchable reality TV show about the Electric Barbarellas–a “scantily clad new all-girl group” the octogenarian was supposedly “smitten with.”

Now we learn, from Lauria as well, that Redstone is working on a new project: Trying to figure out which Viacom employee leaked last month’s story to Lauria.

Redstone, a lawyer by training, isn’t beating around the bush here–he just called up Lauria and told him to give up the name. “You will be well-rewarded and well-protected,” he promised. Here’s the astounding voicemail he left:

For the record, Lauria isn’t giving up the name of his source.

UPDATE: I’ll admit I’m a bit surprised to hear from Viacom at all on this one. But PR boss Carl Folta wants us to know that Redstone’s call was a freelance affair, and not a reflection of Viacom policy. “There is no investigation under way at Viacom,” he says.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik