Ronan Farrow in, Les Moonves out: The #MeToo movement reshapes list of Hollywood's most powerful

When Les Moonves was forced out...

Posted: Sep 20, 2018 4:23 PM
Updated: Sep 20, 2018 4:23 PM

When Les Moonves was forced out of CBS as chairman and chief executive amid accusations of sexual misconduct, Matthew Belloni, the editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, was left with a predicament.

Moonves' exit in early September came after Belloni and his team had already finished compiling the THR 100, an annual ranking of the most powerful people in the entertainment industry set to be released Thursday morning. The former CBS chief was not only on it, but he was in the top 10.

Belloni said that in the wake of Moonves' departure, he convened a meeting with the editors responsible for assembling the THR 100. The first decision? Toss Moonves off of the list.

"That one was easy for us," Belloni said. "He's out of the business. He's no longer in his role and this list is all about power and the ability to green light things and influence the culture and he's no longer in that role."

But removing Moonves from the THR 100 left a vacancy on the list, and the editors at The Hollywood Reporter had to determine how to fill it. That decision, however, turned out to be an easy one as well.

Belloni said he suggested that journalist Ronan Farrow, who conducted the two New Yorker investigations that revealed allegations of sexual misconduct against Moonves, take the open slot. There was unanimous agreement among editors. (To be clear, Farrow filled Moonves' empty spot, but not in the top 10.)

"I said, 'What about Ronan?'" Belloni recalled to CNN. "And everybody just looked and said it makes sense, replacing one guy with the guy who caused him to be replaced."

Swapping Moonves for Farrow is just one example of how the Me Too movement, which took off nearly a year ago after Farrow and The New York Times published stories that detailed allegations of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein, has influenced the decisions behind The Hollywood Reporter's annual list.

Other members of the Hollywood elite were also knocked off the 2018 list in light of the Me Too movement. Amazon entertainment chief Roy Price, former Pixar chief executive John Lasseter, and the director and producer Brett Ratner were all included in last year's list, but excluded this year. The three men's reactions to the allegations lodged against them were mixed: Lasseter apologized and has since left Pixar, while Ratner has denied the allegations. Price has never commented on the allegations.

"The list reflects the profound change that Hollywood has undergone over the past year," Belloni told CNN. "There were people who were on the list last year and are not this year specifically due to the Me Too movement."

Outside of the Me Too movement, Hollywood is undergoing a radical transformation, and Belloni said the THR 100 is a reflection of that change.

The Murdochs have plummeted from the top 10 to No. 14 after they sold most of Fox to Disney this year. CBS' controlling shareholder Shari Redstone is up in the top five after Moonves' exit, and Lebron James is making his debut on the list.

The list also reflects a more diverse Hollywood, with the inclusion of "Crazy Rich Asians" director Jon M. Chu, "Hamilton" star Lin-Manuel Miranda, and "Black Panther" actor Michael B. Jordan.

This year's THR 100 also includes an hourglass icon that will appear next to the names of people whose power is diminishing, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Those individuals include Disney's Ben Sherwood and 21st Century Fox's Stacey Snider.

"Between mergers, consolidation, and digital disruption, it really does feel like an age of upheaval," Belloni said. "So we instituted these little ticking clocks that essentially denotes that change is afoot and these executives likely won't be in the role that they are right now."

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