Brow Beat

Stephen Colbert Addresses Les Moonves’ Departure at CBS

Host Stephen Colbert, delivering a monologue.
Stephen Colbert, addressing the second round of Les Moonves allegations. CBS

When the first Ronan Farrow story about disgraced former CBS CEO Les Moonves hit, Stephen Colbert gave a monologue weighing out the personal loyalty he felt for Moonves against the things he was alleged to have done. He came down on the side of accountability, but the struggle was real, and the tone was solemn:

So I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s gonna 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. He hired me to sit in this chair. He stood behind this show while we were struggling to find our voice. He gave us the time and the resources to succeed, and he has stood by us when people were mad at me. And I like working for him. But accountability is meaningless unless it’s for everybody, whether it’s the leader of a network, or the leader of the free world. 


Judging by tonight’s monologue, which features a joke about Moonves opening a bottle of wine with his corkscrew-shaped dick, Stephen Colbert has made up his mind:


Not only does Colbert make fun of his former boss, he compares him to Louis C.K., joking that Moonves will reappear in nine months at the Comedy Cellar. The bulk of the segment is about the New York Times’ anonymous op-ed and Bob Woodward’s new book, but it’s interesting to see that the second Ronan Farrow story has moved Moonves definitively from “a tough conundrum” to “the target of corkscrew-shaped penis jokes.” Sic semper tyrannis?


Here are Colbert’s remarks on Les Moonves:

Welcome to The Late Show, one and all. I’m your host, Stephen Colbert. Now, folks, if you watch the news, you may have heard the head of this network, Leslie Moonves, was forced to step down yesterday. This came after a second Ronan Farrow exposé featured more women accusing him of sexual harassment and assault. It’s never a good sign when you’re the subject of a Ronan Farrow double-dip. You don’t want it.

The new article has some disturbing allegations like this one, when a television executive says that she “ … entered Moonves’s office to discuss a work matter, and he said that he was going to get a glass of wine. He left briefly, and when he returned, she said, he was not wearing pants, and was aroused.” Wow. That is an impressive way to open a bottle of wine! Got a little corkscrew to it, ring-ing-ing-ing!

In total, Moonves is accused of harassing or assaulting thirteen women. And that’s not even counting the thousands of innocent Americans who have walked past this actual poster for Bull: “He’ll get you off.”

Anyway, the article is extremely disturbing, and I’m not surprised that that’s it. Les Moonves is gone.

For at least nine months, until he does a set at the Comedy Cellar.