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Stephen Colbert Addressed Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Les Moonves During His Monologue

"Accountability is meaningless unless it's for everybody, whether it's the leader of a network or the leader of the free world."

Posted on July 31, 2018, at 11:59 a.m. ET

Stephen Colbert, host of CBS's The Late Show, directly addressed the sexual harassment allegations levied against his boss, Les Moonves, on Monday night, as an example of what the #MeToo movement at large is about.

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Moonves, the CEO of CBS Corporation, was accused of sexually harassing six women in a New Yorker piece by Ronan Farrow published on Friday.

In it, Farrow interviewed women who alleged that Moonves harassed them in the early '80s until the early '00s.

Some of Moonves' purported transgressions include putting his hand up a woman's skirt and using intimidation as a means of getting back at women who refused his advances.

Colbert approached the topic in his opening monologue with his usual flair, making jokes about the issue before noting that he would address it further when he sat down at his desk. "We're coming up on one year of general awareness of the #MeToo movement and I think that milestone is worth celebrating," he said.

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"And women over the past year have felt empowered to tell their stories in ways they haven't before which is an objectively good thing," he said. "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. And how do we know we knew it was wrong then? Because we know these men tried to keep the stories from coming out back then."

Colbert then expressed his naïveté regarding the tidal wave of accusations against many men since the movement began last year, which he said "shocked" him. But the host said that for many women in his life, "it has brought a welcome sense of relief that something's finally happening."

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Over the weekend, Colbert said that he was asked what he thought was going to happen with Moonves in light of the recent news.

"I don't know," he said. "I don't know who does know."

He said he'd normally call Moonves in a situation like this before weighing in on the trend of the disgraced men who have opted to leave the public eye after being accused.

Unlike men who have been accused before him, Moonves was reportedly seen out at Nobu Malibu with his wife, Julie Chen, according to Page Six.

In a statement last week, Chen said that she fully supports her husband, calling him a "kind, decent and moral human being."

Colbert used a quote from former president John F. Kennedy, who once said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Colbert said, referring to the movement, that "we shouldn't be surprised that when the change comes, it comes radically."

"This roar is just a natural backlash to all that silence," he said.

Winding down, Colbert said that "everybody believes in accountability until it's their guy," before listing off a slew of things Moonves did for The Late Show when he first took over, like standing behind the program when it was struggling to find a voice and giving it the "time and resources to succeed."

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"But accountability is meaningless unless it's for everybody, whether it's the leader of a network or the leader of the free world," Colbert said, ending his bit.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.