Stephen Colbert Addresses CBS Boss Les Moonves Sexual Misconduct Allegations

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On Monday's episode of "The Late Show" on CBS, Colbert noted that a theme of the recent Me Too movement against workplace sexual harassment is the tendency of people to discredit or downplay sexual abuse allegations against someone they agree with or are close to. Both Moonves and CBS vice-chairwoman Shari Redstone were in attendance.

There had been speculation earlier Monday about whether Moonves would step aside during the course of the investigation.

The revelations come amid a legal battle for control of the United States television giant - between the Redstone family, which controls CBS, and the board, chaired by Moonves.

"CBS Corporation announced today that its board of directors is in the process of selecting outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation", it said in a statement. CBS's board also delayed the annual shareholder meeting again.

The stock reaction is about more than the accusations against Moonves.

When Colbert found out Ronan Farrow, who reported on the Harvey Weinstein allegations, wrote the Moonves article, the Late Show host spit out his water and chose instead to take a sip of whiskey.

Shares in CBS, after two straight days of setbacks that cut their value by 11%, have re-entered positive territory this morning, rising a fraction to about $51.50.

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One of the accusers, actress Illeana Douglas, alleged he violently kissed her. "Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely", he said.

Following the publication of the New Yorker story, some senior female CBS executives have expressed support for Moonves, including Jo Ann Ross, the company's president and chief advertising revenue officer, and Angelica McDaniel, an executive vice president of daytime programming.

In a statement to The New Yorker, Moonves said: "I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances".

"I'm not actually sure what I said in response, but he said, 'Look, you're really expensive and I need to know you're worth it, ' " she recalled.

If Moonves is suspended or departs altogether, CBS will face a serious power vacuum at a time of rapid change roiling the industry.

In a statement to The New Yorker that was also obtained by CNN, Moonves said he has "promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees" throughout his tenure at CBS.

Moonves, who has run the current CBS since 2006, has steered the company aggressively into the streaming arena.

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