Stephen Colbert Takes On Les Moonves — Again

Photo: Courtesy of CBS.
CBS boss Les Moonves is out, and Stephen Colbert has had no qualms about saying goodbye to him. In his second Moonves monologue mention, Colbert joked that Moonves had been the victim of a Ronan Farrow "double dip," meaning that Farrow had written not one, but two exposés on the CBS boss.
"Anyway, the article is extremely disturbing, and, um, I'm not surprised," Colbert said. "That's it. Les Moonves is gone."
Moonves' ouster has been in the works since late July, when Farrow published his first deep-dive into Moonves' history as a part of an investigation into CBS. Following that news, CBS hired outside counsel to investigate Moonves, and, Sunday night, the network announced that Moonves would step down from his role as Chairmain and CEO of the CBS Corporation.
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Colbert previously mentioned Moonves in a more serious tone, this time in a segment entitled "Accountability is Useless Unless It's for Everybody." He'd joked about Moonves in the monologue earlier in the episode, but he wanted to address the allegations against his boss for real.
"Powerful men taking sexual advantage over relatively powerless employees are wrong," he said plainly. He later admitted, "In a situation like this, I usually call Les [Moonves]...Make no mistake, Les Moonves is my guy." But, he concluded, we have to hold him accountable.
His honesty garnered attention because, well, accountability, and because this was the first case of a high-profile company employee taking action against a higher-profile executive. That takes guts. Colbert later said on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen that he'd told CBS in advance that he'd be addressing the allegations, and the network didn't make a move to prevent him.
Meanwhile, The Late Late Show with James Corden — which has happily taken on the anonymous op-ed in the New York Timeshas yet to mention Moonves. (A pitch: Corden can do Les Moonves-erables and re-write the lyrics to Schönberg's musical to be about the CBS boss.) Few late night shows have, perhaps because the subject is too close for comfort. The allegations against Moonves have pried open a nasty can of network worms, forcing Colbert to investigate his own workplace, which, Farrow revealed, has been a hidey-hole for corrupt men in power for years.
The closer we get to the year anniversary of the New York Times Harvey Weinstein exposé — the piece that launched a thousand more investigations — the more late night hosts seem hesitant to broach the topic of sexual misconduct. Few shows took on comedian Louis C.K. and even fewer addressed the cocktail of pieces surrounding Aziz Ansari. What there is to say has been said already, right? Moonves is out, and that's it, at least according to Colbert. But, for many, the conversation has only just begun.
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