Although Cybill Shepherd wasn’t a household name in 2022, she was a major actor in the 1970s and 1980s. Her stunning lead role on The Last Picture Show earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. She later starred opposite Bruce Willis in Moonlighting. After the popular series ended, Shepherd went on to direct her own sitcom, Cybill.
The series ran from 1995 to 1998 and followed Shepherd as a twice-divorced woman pursuing a second act in her career. Although it had decent ratings, “Cybill” ended a bit prematurely. According to Jezebel, Shepherd’s show ended for one obvious reason: misogyny. Creatively, she felt stifled after receiving notes that she couldn’t mention menopause or make a comedic beat that involved talking while eating.
Though these changes seem benign enough, Shepherd revealed they were part of a larger effort to punish her for turning down a network manager’s advances. Ultimately, she claims her streak was cut short because she refused to join the harassment.
Cybill Shepherd was molested by Les Moonves
Cybill Shepherd’s show ended without further ado after three years — something the actor says was no coincidence. According to Shepherd, “Cybill” was canceled because of former CBS CEO Les Moonves. During production of the series, Shepherd agreed to go to dinner with the Executive, and their exchange was awkward, to say the least.
“He told me his wife didn’t hit him up, a mistress didn’t hit him up,” Shepherd said, per Deadline. She then explained that he was drinking and made a lewd suggestion to her: “Why don’t you let me take you home?” The actor turned down Moonves and “quite soon after that” Shepherd said the show was dead in the water.
“I hope and pray that this era — someone who has that much power, man or woman; it seems like it’s mostly males, but I’m sure somewhere, eventually, some females will be mixed – hopefully over,” Shepherd added during an interview on Michelle Collins’ SiriusXM radio show (via The Hollywood Reporter). Shepherd remains optimistic that the entertainment industry can now start over. “My show could have lasted five more years. He didn’t make it any easier. I made the right decision.”
Cybill Shepherd wasn’t the only victim of the executive branch
As it turns out, Cybill Shepherd wasn’t the only one to accuse Les Moonves of molestation. In a tongue-in-cheek twist, he created the Commission to Eliminate Sexual Harassment and Promote Equality in the Workplace, calling #MeToo “a watershed moment.”
“I think it’s important that a company’s culture doesn’t allow for that,” Moonves noted, per The New Yorker. The now-disgraced executive condemned the “widespread” wrongdoing, adding that “there is a lot [they] didn’t know.” But not long after Moonves took steps to end workplace harassment, he himself was accused of misconduct. Six women came forward saying Moonves molested them for sexual assault and then I was fired for not participating.”
Her story and Shepherd’s present a similar truth: Moonves used his power over women to force them into physical relationships with him. After the first New Yorker article, more than a dozen women filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Moonves. After four years of litigation, the case was settled in April. Plaintiffs reached a $14.75 million settlement against Moonves, according to Variety. In the years leading up to this development, he also lost his job as CEO of CBS. While it’s too late to revive Cybill, Moonves’ departure may pave the way for a reboot.