Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show on CBS, was probably in a bit of a spot after allegations of sexual harassment against his boss Leslie Moonves, the CEO of CBS, were published in The New Yorker. Since he takes on all kinds of injustice, what should he do about this one?
Colbert did the clever thing. He began by addressing the exposé, written by Ronan Farrow, which detailed the sexual harassment allegations against the CBS CEO by six women, but he quickly moved on to similar charges against Fox News’s Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is also – a bonus for satirists – dating US President Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr.
Later, after a commercial break, Colbert dedicated an entire segment (video above) to the completion of nearly one year of the “MeToo” movement, and delivered a monologue on the importance of holding people in power accountable for systemic sexual abuse:
“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. 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 admitted that he probably wasn’t the ideal person to address this type of systemic abuse, and was unaware of what will happen to his boss as a results of the allegations. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable,” he said, quoting John F Kennedy. “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.”
The climactic ending to the powerful monologue, however, came when Colbert proclaimed:
“Everybody believes in accountability until it’s their guy. And make no mistake, Les Moonves is my guy...But accountability is meaningless unless it’s for everybody. Whether it’s the leader of the network, or the leader of the free world.”