USA Today

Comedian Stephen Colbert Addresses Moonves Exit

September 11, 2018 - 10:45 am

(CBS News) - "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert wasted no time addressing the departure of his boss, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, who left amid multiple accusations of sexual harassment and assault. He opened Monday's show by talking about Moonves' exit, and pointed out that the former CBS chief's alleged behavior warranted two articles by Ronan Farrow for the New Yorker. 

Colbert said, "It's never a good sign when you're the subject of a Ronan Farrow double-dip. You don't want it." But the host still cracked a few jokes while discussing the controversy surrounding Moonves. 

"The new article has some disturbing allegations like this one, when a television executive says that she '… entered Moonves's office to discuss a work matter, and he said that he was going to get a glass of wine. He left briefly, and when he returned, she said, he was not wearing pants, and was aroused,'" Colbert said. "Wow. That is an impressive way to open a bottle of wine! Got a little corkscrew to it, ring-ing-ing-ing!" 

He also joked that in addition to allegedly harassing or assaulting 13 women, Moonves has also subjected "thousands of innocent Americans" to an embarrassing poster for the TV show "Bull." 

Colbert closed off by saying, "Anyway, the article is extremely disturbing, and I'm not surprised that that's it. Les Moonves is gone," but threw in one final zinger, referencing Louis C.K.'s recent performance, saying, "For at least nine months, until he does a set at the Comedy Cellar."

In July, Colbert called for "accountability" regarding the accusations against Moonves. He said, "Everybody believes in accountability until it's their guy, and, make no mistake, Les Moonves is my guy." Colbert gestured emphatically and said, "He hired me to sit in this chair. He stood behind the show when we were struggling to find our voice. He gave us the time and the resources to succeed, and he has stood by us when people were mad at me. I liked working for him."

He closed his statement by saying, "But accountability is meaningless unless it's for everybody, whether it's the leader of a network, or the leader of the free world."

CBS announced Moonves' departure hours after the report by Farrow was published Sunday by The New Yorker, in which six women described in detail several disturbing instances of alleged sexual misconduct. The claims came six weeks after Farrow first published allegations against Moonves by six other women. 

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