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Colbert Addresses CBS’s Les Moonves Allegations: He May Be ‘My Guy,’ But ‘I Believe in Accountability’

On Monday night, Stephen Colbert tackled the sexual misconduct allegations against CBS CEO Les Moonves made public last week, someone he hoped wasn’t watching his monologue.

Colbert literally had a spit take in reaction to Ronan Farrow being the author of the New Yorker bombshell report published about the CBS chief, who was accused by six women of sexual harassment and assault.

“That’s not good!” Colbert exclaimed. “Ronan isn’t exactly known for his puff pieces about glamping.”

He then showed a news clip covering the exposé, which include how his alleged victims called Moonves inappropriately touching them was a “practiced routine.”

“Well, you know the old saying: How do you get in a Ronan Farrow article? Practice, practice, practice,” Colbert quipped. “I’ll have some more to say about this over there at the desk later, assuming we make it past the commercial break…”

The Late Show host did indeed return from the commercial break and had a more serious tone at the desk, acknowledging that “we’re coming up on one year of general awareness of the #MeToo movement” after the downfall of Harvey Weinstein.

“Women over the past year have felt empowered to tell their stories in ways they haven’t before, which is an objectively good thing. Because, and it’s strange to have to say this, powerful men taking sexual advantage of relatively powerless employees are wrong. We know it’s wrong now and we knew it was wrong then,” Colbert told his audience. “And how do we know we knew it was wrong? Because we know these men tried to keep the stories from coming out back then.”

Colbert called the accusations made against various figures in the entertainment industry “shocking” to him but have brought a “welcomed sense of relief” for many women.

“But this weekend some people asked me, probably ’cause I work here, ‘What do you think is going to happen?’ I don’t know,” Colbert admitted. “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 there should be levels of response, but I understand why the disappearing happens. Cause there’s a J.F.K. quote that I like and I cite a fair amount on this show and it’s that “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” And for so long for women in the workplace, there was no change, no justice for the abused, so we shouldn’t be surprised that when the change comes, it comes radically. This roar is a natural backlash to all that silence.”

“So I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do believe in accountability. And not just for politicians you disagree with,” Colbert continued. “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 for the leader of a network or the leader of the free world.”

Watch the clips above, via CBS.