Stephen Colbert Takes on Les Moonves' Ousting in Late Show Cold Open

The former CBS chairman and CEO was ousted following a second exposé by Ronan Farrow.

By Samantha Schnurr Sep 11, 2018 2:39 PMTags

After the breaking news weekend, Stephen Colbert returned to The Late Show stage with Les Moonves' ousting on his mind. 

The former CBS chairman and CEO resigned on Sunday, the same day Ronan Farrow published a second exposé on Moonves in The New Yorker, which described harassment and assault allegations from six additional women.

"Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am.  Effective immediately I will no longer be Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CBS," he said in part of a statement. "I am deeply saddened to be leaving the company. I wish nothing but the best for the organization, the newly comprised board of directors and all of its employees."

"Folks, if you watch the news you may have heard the head of this network, Leslie Moonves, was forced to step down yesterday," Colbert kicked off his cold open monologue. "This came after a second Ronan Farrow exposé, featured more women accusing him of sexual harassment and assault...It's never a good sign when you're the subject of a Ronan Farrow double dip."

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Colbert proceeded to hone in on one of the allegations outlined in Farrow's latest report from TV executive Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb. As she told Farrow, she went to Moonves's office to discuss a work matter and he allegedly said he was going to get a glass of wine. He allegedly returned "aroused" and without pants on. "Wow, that is an impressive way to open a bottle of wine," Colbert quipped. 

"In total, Moonves is accused of harassing or assaulting 13 women and that's not even counting the thousands of innocent Americans who've walked past this actual poster for Bull," he said as he took aim at a promotional poster for the CBS series that reads, "He'll get you off."

As the late-night host continued, "The article is extremely disturbing and um I'm not surprised that's it." For one final quip on the subject, Colbert concluded, "Les Moonves is gone—for at least nine months until he does a set at the Comedy Cellar," a reference to Louis C.K.'s recent re-emergence at the famed NYC comedy club months after he admitted to sexual misconduct. 

"We'll see."