Julie Chen has spoken out in support of her husband, CBS CEO Les Moonves, following allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
Chen, who is the host of Big Brother and co-host of The Talk, both of which air on CBS, released her statement on Friday on Twitter. She wrote, “I have known my husband, Leslie Moonves, since the late ’90s, and I have been married to him for almost 14 years. Leslie is a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader. He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being. I fully support my husband and stand behind him and his statement.”
Chen’s statement was a response to a New Yorker investigation by Ronan Farrow in which six women came forward to accuse Moonves of sexual harassment. The accusations included instances in which Moonves allegedly forcibly kissed or touched women during business meetings and destroyed the careers of those who rejected him.
“What happened to me was a sexual assault, and then I was fired for not participating,” said actress Illeana Douglas, who described an incident in which Moonves pinned her down and “violently” kissed her during what was supposed to be a meeting regarding a CBS pilot she was filming. When she turned him down, she claims he cancelled a deal she had at CBS.
In the article, Moonves released his own statement, in which he acknowledged making “mistakes” in decades past, but denied abusing his power to harm anyone else’s career.
“I recognise that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances,” he said. “Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected — and abided by the principle — that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”
Prior to the release of Farrow’s article, CBS released a statement saying that the network will investigate claims that violate the company’s policy and will take “appropriate action” against whatever is found.
Refinery29 has reached out to representatives for Chen and Moonves. We will update this post as more information becomes available.
If you have experienced sexual violence of any kind, please visit Rape Crisis or call 0808 802 9999.