The Talk co-host Julie Chen upset some fans Thursday evening when she made a public show of support for her husband, Les Moonves, the former CEO of CBS Corporation.
The controversial moment happened during a live episode of Big Brother, a reality competition series Chen hosts when she’s not moderating The Talk. As the television personality closed out the show, she told viewers: “From outside the ‘Big Brother’ house … I’m Julie Chen Moonves. Good night.”
Considering the 48-year-old has never used her last name once during the show’s 20 seasons, it’s understandable her choice of words raised a few eyebrows.
Julie Chen is standing by her husband. She signed off tonight’s @CBSBigBrother, for the first time ever I believe, with: “I’m Julie Chen Moonves.”
— TVMoJoe (@TVMoJoe) September 14, 2018
But Chen’s remark shouldn’t come as a surprise to people who’ve followed the sexual misconduct allegations surrounding Moonves.
Ever since The New Yorker first brought six women’s claims to light in July, the daytime talk show host has consistently defended her husband of almost 14 years.
She tweeted about the initial article: “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 and stand behind him and his statement.”
— Julie Chen Moonves (@JCMoonves) July 27, 2018
It’s now clear Chen will continue to support the 68-year-old media mogul, following his resignation Sunday night hours after The New Yorker published an article detailing sexual misconduct allegations against him from six more women.
In the article, reported by Ronan Farrow, veteran television executive Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb accused Moonves of “physically restraining her and forcing her to perform oral sex on him.” She also alleged that he exposed himself to her and violently threw her “against a wall.”
Other accusers claimed the mogul tried to derail their careers after they declined his advances.
The former CEO has denied all of the allegations but claims three of the reported encounters were consensual. “The appalling accusations in this article are untrue,” he said in a statement to The New Yorker. “What is true is that I had consensual relations with three of the women some 25 years ago before I came to CBS.”
As for fans, some people aren’t buying Moonves’ denials or Chen’s ongoing support for him amid the scandal.
“I feel like Julie threw everyone a big f**k you with her sign off of: This is Julie Chen-“Moonves” (something she has never done before),” one irritated person tweeted. “She said so much by saying so little. I really think Julie is gone after this season of #BB20.”
I feel like Julie threw everyone a big fuck you with her sign off of:
This is Julie Chen-"Moonves" (something she has never done before)
She said so much by saying so little.
I really think Julie is gone after this season of #BB20
— EvelDick (@EvelDick) September 14, 2018
Someone else chimed in: “‘I’m Julie Chen Moonves’ That was so messy and insulting to his victims, go and stay gone Julie. #bb20.”
— alex ? (@amdeeeeeee) September 14, 2018
“Julie Chen was overly critical of Camille Cosby, but she’s standing by her man who is facing similar accusations,” another person added. “Make it make sense.”
Julie Chen was overly critical of Camille Cosby, but she's standing by her man who is facing similar accusations. ? Make it make sense.
— Elgin Charles (@ElginCharles) September 14, 2018
The co-hosts of The View also joined in on the conversation, with newcomer Abby Huntsman defending Chen’s actions. Huntsman said she could never judge the New York native because “you don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors.”
Meanwhile, a Big Brother fan tweeted a sympathetic assessment of Chen, writing: “No matter what happens with your husband. I love you and support you. Go Julie Chen Moonves!”
No matter what happens with your husband. I love you and support you. Go Julie Chen Moonves! ????
— Andrew Martino (@candyxandy) September 14, 2018
“That’s her husband. Right or wrong, she did what anyone would do and support their loved one,” another commenter penned. “If there’s anything that she needs to deal with, she’ll do it in private, like it SHOULD be done. #JulieChen.”
That's her husband. Right or wrong, she did what anyone would do and support their loved one. If there's anything that she needs to deal with, she'll do it in private, like it SHOULD be done. #JulieChen
— David Santiago (@range1971) September 14, 2018
The heated debate about Chen’s closing remark follows the firing of 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager on Wednesday.
Fager was terminated by CBS after he allegedly sent a threatening text to Jericka Duncan, a CBS News correspondent who reached out for comment regarding the sexual harassment accusations against him outlined in Farrow’s recent New Yorker article.
“My language was harsh and, despite the fact that journalists receive harsh demands for fairness all the time, CBS did not like it,” Fager said in a statement about the firing. “One such note should not result in termination after 36 years, but it did.”
Watch The Talk’s full discussion about Fager’s firing below: