After multiple accusations of sexual harassment against CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves, the corporation officially ousted him on Sunday — mere hours after a second article in The New Yorker by Ronan Farrow detailed more accusations. This put Late Show host Stephen Colbert in something of an awkward position, as a news-based comedian now expected to discuss his former boss. But Colbert did not waste time, addressing the Moonves fallout as the first item in his monologue on Monday night.
Colbert joked about some of the accusations detailed in Farrow’s second piece, such as retired TV executive Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb’s story of Moonves inviting her into his office in 1988. Per Farrow’s account of Golden-Gottlieb’s story, “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.” Recounting this on The Late Show, Colbert cracked, “that is an impressive way to open a bottle of wine.”
Colbert made clear that he thought the article was “extremely disturbing.” The past year has been full of extremely disturbing news stories of sexual harassment allegations against powerful men in the media and entertainment industries. Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose bevy of assault allegations kicked off the avalanche last October, remains under house arrest while staring down multiple lawsuits. However, other accused men have already started mounting their comebacks. Comedian Louis C.K., who last November confirmed the truth of sexual misconduct allegations made against him by five separate women in the New York Times, recently did a surprise stand-up set at New York City’s Comedy Cellar, where he was received warmly by some (but not all) audience members. Colbert made this the centerpiece of his Moonves discussion.
“Les Moonves is gone,” Colbert said, “for at least nine months, until he does a set at the Comedy Cellar.”
Watch the full video clip above.