Three days after CBS Corporation president Les Moonves was accused of decades of sexual harassment, Stephen Colbert had the unenviable task of addressing the allegations leveled against his boss. Back in November, he skewered "CBS This Morning" host Charlie Rose about his allegations of sexual misconduct - while Rose's co-host, Gayle King, was waiting in the wings for an interview.
The CBS board met Monday and is in the process of starting an independent investigation. Having been in SC with no internet, Colbert "heard there was an article about CBS Chairman and man-I-hope-isn't-watching-tonight's-monologue Leslie Moonves".
Later in the show, Colbert spoke more about Moonves and the #MeToo movement from his desk.
"I'm not actually sure what I said in response, but he said, 'Look, you're really expensive and I need to know you're worth it, ' " she recalled.
With specific regards to Moonves, Colbert concluded, "Everybody believes in accountability until it's their guy".
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"I heard there was an article about CBS chairman and Man I Hope Is Not Watching My Show Tonight, Les Moonves", Colbert said, kicking off his first monologue of the week. "We know it was wrong now and we knew it was wrong then".
In a piece by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker published Friday, six women - including actress Illeana Douglas and writer Janet Jones - who professionally dealt with Moonves between the 1980s and late aughts accused him of sexual misconduct. How do we know we knew it was wrong then? But this weekend some people asked me, probably cause I work here, "What do you think is going to happen?" "Because the men tried to keep the story from coming out then". Colbert gestured emphatically and said, "He hired me to sit in this chair".
Colbert goes on for a while explaining all that Moonves has done for him personally, and for Late Show with Stephen Colbert as an institution, before dropping the hammer: "Accountability is meaningless unless it's for everybody-whether it's the leader of a network or the leader of the free world".
In a statement issued Friday, the embattled media executive admitted there were times during his long career where he made women feel "uncomfortable". "And I will stand by that statement today, tomorrow, forever", she concluded. "Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely", he said.
But he added that he had "never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone's career".