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September 12, 2018

Les Moonves’ wife Julie Chen takes time off from 'The Talk' amid harassment allegations against him

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Julie Chen skips the season premiere of "The Talk" in the midst of the sexual harassment scandal her husband Les Moonves is now involved in. During her absence, her co-hosts expressed their discomfort as they discussed the issue that affects one of them. 

In the midst of the sexual harassment controversy surrounding her husband, CBS CEO Les Moonves, talk show host Julie Chen opted to take a leave of absence from “The Talk” to spend time with her family.

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Chen was noticeably missing from the Season 9 premiere of CBS’ “The Talk” on Monday, just a day after her husband resigned as CEO of CBS. Moonves became the subject of a September 9 report released by The New Yorker which featured six women accusing him of sexual misconduct and harassment. The report further substantiates earlier claims of six other women who came forward in a July 27 article also published by the same publication where Moonves was first accused of the acts. 

At the time, Chen didn’t discuss the accusations against her husband of 14 years on air but expressed her full support for him on Twitter.

“I have known my husband, Leslie Moonves, since the late ‘90s, and I have been married to him for almost 14 years.  Leslie is a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader. He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being. I fully support my husband.”

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But now that a second article has come out and more women have narrated the same stories against Moonves, Chen must have thought it best to stay clear of “The Talk” which was also obligated to discuss her husband’s case just like any news story.  In a statement released to her network, Chen wrote,

“I am taking a few days off from the talk to be with my family. I will be back soon and will see you Thursday night on ‘Big Brother.'”

Meanwhile, her husband released a statement Sunday night announcing his resignation. 

“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. 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.”

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It was a “bittersweet” season premiere for “The Talk”, according to co-host Sharon Osbourne who also announced Chen’s absence from the show. Osbourne admitted their situation has now become awkward discussing a topic on the show that greatly affects one of them. But she insists it’s the right thing to do. 

"First of all, I want to say that whatever times I've had of hardship over the last eight years, Julie has always been there for me. She's been a friend; she's somebody I admire and respect greatly, and it's very embarrassing and upsetting to have to talk about her husband, but we do. We feel it's right."

Osbourne added that though she only knew Moonves superficially and as Chen’s husband, the stories that have been raised against him clearly says “the man has a problem.” 

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Chen’s other co-hosts Sara Gilbert, rapper Eve and Sheryl Underwood also expressed the same sentiments, sending love to Julie but at the same time taking the accusations against her husband seriously.  According to Gilbert,

“I love her, I support her always. However, this is an important time in our culture, and just because this hits close to home, it doesn't change this story.”

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In light of the recent accusations against Moonves, another expose released by The Huffington Post painted a sour picture of the man. According to the article, the CEO honcho was obsessed with destroying Janet Jackson’s career after her unfortunate “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl in 2004.

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Moonves was reportedly upset over the singer’s lack of remorse following the incident and has held a grudge on her since then. He allegedly prohibited her from appearing in the Grammys that same year and banned her songs and music videos from MTV and US radios which eventually affected the sales of her album. He was also reportedly upset when Jackson managed to land a book deal with a CBS owned publishing company years later.

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