Julie Chen Doubles Down on Support for Husband Leslie Moonves

Theo Wargo/Getty
Leslie Moonves and Julie Chen

Chen addressed the sexual misconduct allegations on Monday's episode of 'The Talk,' standing by a tweet she wrote last week about the embattled CBS chief.

Julie Chen doubled down on her defense of her husband, Leslie Moonves, on Monday's episode of The Talk, days after The New Yorker published an exposé accusing the CBS chairman of sexual misconduct.

"Some of you may be aware of what’s been going on in my life the past few days. I issued the one and only statement I will ever make on this topic on Twitter," she said at the start of the broadcast. "And I will stand by that statement today, tomorrow, forever."

Chen was referring to the tweet she sent Friday, in which she described Moonves — with whom she shares an 8-year-old son, Charlie — as a "devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader."

"I have known my husband, Leslie Moonves, since the mid-90s, and I have been married to him for almost 14 years," the TV host wrote last week. "Leslie is a good man and loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader. He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being. I fully support my husband and stand behind him and his statement."

In the New Yorker article, written by Ronan Farrow, six different women accused Moonves of sexual harassment and intimidation. Four of those women claimed he forcibly touched or kissed them during business meetings. According to actress Illeana Douglas, one of the accusers, she was "fired for not participating" in Moonves' alleged behavior.

Moonves denied the allegations in a statement. "Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company," he said. "I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected — and abided by the principle — that 'no' means 'no,' and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution."

The allegations against Moonves come as CBS engages in a fight with Sumner and Shari Redstone, who control both CBS and Viacom, the parent of MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures, through voting shares owned by National Amusements. Moonves is seeking to dilute those shares because he is concerned that the Redstones might attempt to merge Viacom with CBS, and National Amusements and CBS are suing each other over the ordeal. CBS went on to suggest that Shari might have been responsible for the leaks of sexual misconduct claims against Moonves, though a representative of Shari issued a denial.

"The malicious insinuation that Ms. Redstone is somehow behind the allegations of inappropriate personal behavior by Mr. Moonves or today's reports is false and self-serving," said Shari's rep. "[Shari] hopes that the investigation of these allegations is thorough, open and transparent."

In response to the scandal, investors have seemingly pulled the brakes on CBS Corp. On Friday, the stock closed down 6 percent. The company's shares were down a further 3.1 percent in early trading Monday at $52.33. The CBS board planned to meet Monday to discuss fallout from the Moonves claims.