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Stephen Colbert addresses Les Moonves allegations: 'Accountability is meaningless unless it's for everybody'

"Make no mistake, Les Moonves is my guy," Colbert said. " ... but accountability is meaningless unless it's for everybody."
Image: Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert participates in the "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" segment of the CBS Summer TCA Tour in Beverly Hills, Calif.Richard Shotwell / AP file

"The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert addressed allegations of sexual misconduct made against his boss, CBS CEO Les Moonves, on Monday night, saying that despite his affection for Moonves, the network's chairman of the board needs to be held accountable.

"Make no mistake, Les Moonves is my guy," Colbert said. "He hired me to sit in this chair ... and I like working for him, but accountability is meaningless unless it's for everybody."

Colbert opened his show on Monday night reporting that he was away for the weekend in South Carolina without internet ("They don't have it there yet," he joked). "But then I heard there was an article about CBS chairman — and man I hope isn't watching tonight's monologue — Les Moonves," he said.

He asked where the article ran — "quality publication," he dubbed The New Yorker — then asked who wrote it. Learning the author was Ronan Farrow, he did a spit take. "That's not good," as he grabbed a drink. "Ronan isn't exactly known for his puff pieces about glamping."

The news clips then rolled, detailing the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct levied against Moonves. "Well, you know the old saying, How do you get in a Ronan Farrow article? Practice, practice, practice," said Colbert.

Colbert reported that the CBS board met today and announced that they were hiring outside counsel to lead the investigation. "I don't know why they're outsourcing this," he quipped. "They could just use the cast of the new CBS procedural: 'CSI: CEO.'"

He then said he'd have to more say later when he's at the desk, "assuming we make it past the commercial break."

In an article published in the New Yorker on Friday, Moonves was accused of sexual misconduct by six women, including actress Illeana Douglas, who claimed Moonves had her fired from a CBS pilot after she turned down his advances; writer Janet Jones, who alleges he assaulted her during a pitch meeting while Moonves worked at 20th Century Fox; and producer Christine Peters, who accused Moonves of making an advance to her when she was up for a job at CBS Films.

Moonves acknowledged prior lapses in judgment, but disputed other aspects of the report. "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," he said.

The board of CBS met earlier on Monday, announcing that they were hiring outside counsel and postponing the upcoming shareholder meeting.