Stephen Colbert on Wednesday addressed the news that Vincent “Vinnie” Favale, the senior vice president of talent at CBS, had been placed on administrative leave following multiple allegations of using sexual and homophobic language in the workplace.
The Late Show host tackled the damning report following his first commercial break (which you can watch here, beginning at the 10:20 mark), referring to the Favale situation as another example of “powerful men protecting other men in power.”
“An article came out on CNN today about an executive at CBS who used to be a liaison to this show,” Colbert said. “He basically came with the building when I got this show, and he used to be around here a lot. About six months into this show, some of our employees said they were uncomfortable with some of the things that he said, so we took their complaints to HR. They investigated, twice, but I don’t really know what, if anything, happened. It seemed like someone was protecting this guy. I don’t know who it was. We eventually convinced the network to make a change.
“I’m grateful to CNN for writing this article, because the press is not the enemy of the people,” Colbert continued. “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.”
The CNN report included accusations by nine current and former CBS employees, who either witnessed or later heard about Favale making inappropriate remarks. In one particular instance, Favale allegedly told a coworker that he “got four erections” while watching singer Jennifer Hudson rehearse for a 2015 appearance on The Late Show. He is also said to have made derogatory comments about Colbert’s sexuality.