On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert addressed the sexual misconduct allegations against his network’s boss, Les Moonves, by calling for more accountability. The comments came after a New Yorker expose alleged that Moonves sexually harassed six women in the workplace.
The late-night host spoke to the audience about the issue with reserved humor. He commented on the overall cultural movement growing since allegations broke against Harvey Weinstein last year and called the prevalent sexual harassment and assault “systemic abuse.”
“We’re coming up on one year of general awareness of the #MeToo movement,” Colbert said. “Women have become empowered to tell their stories in ways they haven’t before. Which is an objectively good thing. Because – and it’s strange to say this – powerful men taking sexual advantage of relatively powerless employees is wrong.
“This weekend some people asked me, probably because I work here, ‘What do you think is going to happen?’” he continued. “I don’t know. I don’t know who does know. But 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 that there should be levels of response.”
He added, “For so long, for women of the workplace, there was no change, no justice for the employees. So we shouldn’t be surprised that when the change comes, it comes radically.”
Colbert didn’t offer a solution, but did extend a call to arms for harassers to be held accountable for their actions, including Moonves.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do believe in accountability,” Colbert concluded. “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 has stood by me 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.”