During his show on July 30, Stephen Colbert delivered a powerful monologue about accountability in the #MeToo era.
“We know it’s wrong now,” he said of sexual assault and harassment. “And we knew it was wrong then.”
His boss, CBS President Les Moonves, has been accused by at least half a dozen women of sexual harassment and assault stemming back to the 1980s. The day after Colbert’s monologue, the Los Angeles Police Department announced it would not seek to prosecute Moonves over the allegations, making Colbert’s comments even more powerful.
“Everybody believes in accountability until it’s their guy,” Colbert said. “Accountability is meaningless unless it’s for everybody — whether it’s the leader of a network, or the leader of the free world.”
Colbert loves his boss, but that doesn’t mean he gets a pass.
Colbert paid tribute to Moonves, whom he says not only personally brought him to “The Late Show,” but also stood by Colbert when his show struggled early on.
“Make no mistake — Les Moonves is my guy,” Colbert said. “I like working for him.” But he also made it clear he supports the “radical” change brought on by the movement in the wake of years of little to no accountability.
As Colbert said, the best way out of this crisis is consistency in how we as a culture and society respond to the women standing up to make allegations.
Colbert took a professional risk to stand for what’s right.
At the top of his monologue Colbert jokingly asked if his show was still on the air. But make no mistake, Les Moonves is one of the most powerful people in media.
By addressing the allegations against Moonves head on, Colbert used it as a powerful teaching moment that accountability should trump power, prestige, or even personal positive experiences with the accused in order for real change to happen.
It may not get any laughs, but it’s a line that earned him plenty of applause.
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