After watching Tom Freston get the ax without ceremony, Viacom employees took it upon themselves to give him a sendoff worthy of his three decades of leadership at the company. With Freston slated to exit Viacom's Manhattan headquarters for good at 4 p.m. Thursday, employees poured out of their offices and cubes to fill the lobby and the hallways, spilling out into Times Square outside. As Freston exited an elevator, the crown started clapping and cheering, forcing him to push his way out to a car waiting on the street. "It's was a pretty big security problem," says one Viacom employee at the rally which consisted of more than 2,500 employees.
In order to get the word out that a rally would occur, emails and text messages shot throughout the building. "It was organized in like 15 minutes," said one employee. "They [the employees] were chanting his name. He stopped, talked to a few people, got lots of hugs."
‘The energy of the moment was unbelievable," said another MTV staffer after witnessing the event. "People were weeping, screaming. I’ve never experienced anything like that at the workplace."
Philippe Dauman was absent, en route to Los Angeles to make an appearance on the Paramount lot. His sidekick, new chief administrative officer Tom Dooley, was in the lobby in the middle of the crowd.