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Stephen Colbert again addressed allegations of sexual misconduct at his network on The Late Show Wednesday night, saying he was “grateful” for a CNN report that morning detailing allegations of workplace harassment against a CBS executive.
Just weeks after the late-night host discussed the outing of network president Leslie Moonves on his show, Colbert mentioned Vinnie Favale, the senior vp talent development at CBS Studios, the subject of the CNN story, during the second part of his monologue. Favale was placed on leave by the network Wednesday.
“At the heart of so many of our public discussions right now is powerful men protecting other men in power. There are so many examples of this and I’d like to give you another one right now,” Colbert said. “An article came out on CNN today about an executive at CBS, who used to be the liaison to this show. And there’s only one show on the East Coast, and it was us. He basically came with the building when I got this job, and he was around here a lot.”
Favale was a program executive for The Late Show during the bulk of David Letterman’s time as host and helped transition Colbert into the job.
Colbert added that six months ago employees came forward saying that they were uncomfortable with some of his comments. “I don’t know what, if anything, happened. It seemed as if someone was protecting this guy,” Colbert continued. “I don’t know who it was, but we eventually convinced the network to make a change.”
Colbert then finished his speech with a warm take on the reporters behind the story: “So I’m grateful to CNN for writing this article. The press is not the enemy of the people,” referring to a frequent refrain of President Donald Trump at campaign rallies. “This is why you want a free press, this is why you want investigative journalism: It’s to make sure that government and companies and people are accountable for their actions.”
According to CNN, Favale allegedly told colleagues he got “four erections” while Jennifer Hudson was rehearsing a performance on The Late Show in 2015, called some guests “homos” and others “gay” and demanded that booking staff find “hotter” female guests than, in one case, activist Gloria Steinem. One former executive claimed that after she reported some of Favale’s comments to human resources, she was “shut out of meetings” required for her job.
CBS said in a statement Wednesday, “The comments reported in this story are offensive and not consistent with the standards we expect from our executives or the culture we want at CBS. The network investigated a complaint for inappropriate language that was received in January 2016, and corrective action was taken. However, since concerned voices are speaking up nearly three years later, additional review is warranted. Mr. Favale has been placed on leave while we look into this situation further.”
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