Stephen Colbert addresses Moonves harassment allegations on Late Show: 'I do believe in accountability'


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.

On Monday’s broadcast of The Late Show, Colbert responded to the recent New Yorker investigation, written by journalist Ronan Farrow, in which six women accused Moonves of forcibly kissing, touching and intimidating them between the 1980s and late 2000s.

Colbert made light of the New Yorker piece at first, exchanging his coffee mug for alcohol during the monologue after learning the exposé was indeed a legitimate piece of journalism. “Ronan isn’t exactly known for his puff pieces about glamping,” he joked.

But once behind his desk (as seen in the video above), Colbert took on a more serious tone, acknowledging that it has been one year since “general awareness of the #MeToo movement” began, “which is an objectively good thing.”

“Powerful men taking sexual advantage of relatively powerless employees are wrong,” he began. “We know it’s wrong now, and we knew it was wrong then. And how do we know we knew it was wrong then? Because we know these men tried to keep the stories from coming out back then.”

The host then addressed the allegations against Moonves specifically, remarking that he doesn’t know how CBS will choose to discipline its CEO — nor does Colbert have the answers for how Moonves’ behavior should be handled.

“In a situation like this, I’d normally call Les,” he said. “But over the past year, there’s been a lot of discussion about whether the disappearing of the accused from public life is the right thing to do. And I get that there should be levels of response.”

He continued: “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do believe in accountability — and not just for politicians you disagree with. Everybody believes in accountability until it’s their guy, and make no mistake, Les Moonves is my guy… But accountability is meaningless unless it’s for everybody, whether it’s the leader of a network or the leader of the free world.”