While we were secretly hoping that the ongoing feud between filicidal Viacom overlord Sumner Redstone and traitorous offspring Shari would end with an executive futilely attempting to pry the ageless patriarch's bony fingers from his rebellion-fomenting daughter's throat, it now seems that their battle might end without a death in the family. Slate's Kim Masters reports that the conflict seems like it may "blow over," but gets some company insiders to handicap how the fight might've turned out had it continued:
Another Viacom veteran who's a fan of Shari's says she's like Dad—smart, hardworking, and opinionated. Still, this person adds, "taking on a man who has all the stock" may not be all that smart. "I could argue, 'You're right, Shari—the board isn't really independent,' " this observer says. "There ain't nothing you can do. If he wants to make his salary $20 million a year, there ain't shit you can do."
As the other former associate puts it, "She can't kill him. That's God's job."
Both these veterans, who are still in touch with Sumner, say the fact that's he's feuding with his daughter—as well as his son—doesn't mean he's any crazier than he was before. "I'm sure he's half a step slower," says one. "But you're not talking about a guy who's lost his faculties. He's not erratic. He's not a guy who says A in the morning and B in the afternoon."
In fact, this observer thinks the dust-up is probably something of a tonic to the old man. "This is like giving him a 3-inch Porterhouse steak and an ice-cold cold beer," he says. "He's got his name back in the papers. ... What could be better?"
God should've taken a poke while the half-step-slower immortal was briefly made vulnerable by boredom; now that Sumner's got a bellyful of the red meat of familial conflict and is again drunk on his own power, even the Lord is going to have considerable trouble bringing the old man down. Should He underestimate Redstone's stubborn resolve, He could easily wind up losing two out of three falls in an ill-considered Indian leg-wrestling match where another five hundred years on Earth is at stake.
- Viacom Family Feud [Slate]
- Previously: Inside The Redstones' Battle For Control Of Viacom [Defamer]