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.”

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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Stephen Colbert attends 'Rei Kawakubo/Commes Des Garcons: Art of the In-Between' at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic))
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Stephen Colbert (L) and Evelyn McGee attend the 'Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between' Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images For Entertainment Weekly)
MONTCLAIR, NJ - APRIL 30: Stephen Colbert and John Turturro arrive at Conversation Series Discussion at the Montclair Film Festival 2017 Day Three on April 30, 2017 in Montclair, New Jersey. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Montclair Film Festival)
MONTCLAIR, NJ - APRIL 28: Stephen Colbert and Dolores Huerta arrive at Montclair Film Festival 2017 Opening Night on April 28, 2017 in Montclair, New Jersey. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Montclair Film Festival)
NEW YORK - APRIL 25: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and guest John Legend, Kelly Osbourne, Dr John during Tuesday's 4/25/20 show. (Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 17: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert during Monday's 04/17/17 show in New York. (Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 6: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on *Thursday, April 6, 2017 Special Hybrid Episode: Jessica Lange; Bassem Youssef; Judy Gold. (Photo by Mary Kouw/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 02: Evelyn McGee-Colbert and Stephen Colbert attends 'The Play That Goes Wrong' Broadway Opening Night at the Lyceum Theatre on April 2, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK - MARCH 27: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airing Tuesday March 27, 2017 with Lily Tomlin & Jane Fonda; Jay Chandrasekhar; musical performance by Aimee Mann (Photo by Richard Boeth/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 31: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airing Friday March 31, 2017 with Susan Sarandon, Joey McIntyre, Robert Klein. (Photo by Richard Boeth/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 21: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 with guest Ryan Reynolds (Photo by Mary Kouw/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 14: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airing Tuesday, March 14, 2017 with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Todd Barry. (Photo by Timothy Kuratek/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 13: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, interviews with Ewan McGregor, Finn Wittrock and musical performance by The Shins on Monday's taping in New York. Pictured left to right: Finn Wittrock and Stephen Colbert. (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 6: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airing Monday, March 6, 2017 with Judd Apatow. (Photo by Timothy Kuratek/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 6: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airing Monday, March 6, 2017 with Anderson Cooper, Judd Apatow and musical performance by Jidenna. (Photo by Timothy Kuratek/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airing Tuesday February 28, 2017 with Lisa Kudrow; former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest; comedian Tony Rock. (Photo by Richard Boeth/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 17: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 with guests Julie Andrews; Christina Hendricks (Photo by Mary Kouw/CBS via Getty Images)
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