Alyssa Milano Responds to Les Moonves’ Attempted Comeback: ‘We Can’t Expect That Not to Happen’

TCA 2019: “What we can do is set down policy so women — and men — feel safe working around Les Moonves,” Milano says

Actress and activist Alyssa Milano responded to the news that toppled executive CBS Les Moonves had begun to make an attempted comeback in Hollywood with a new company by calling on others in the industry to protect the women around them.

“That’s gonna happen. We can’t expect that not to happen,” Milano told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour on Sunday. “We can’t put all these men on an island and say, ‘Eh, they’ll figure it out. Let them eat themselves.'”

The key, Milano said, is to implement systemic protections for women that won’t allow offenders to go on unaccountable for bad behavior.

“They’re going to get jobs again,” she said. “So I think it’s our responsibility to figure out what that re-entering into the workplace looks like, and how women will feel comfortable within that space. What we can do is set down policy so women — and men — feel safe working around Les Moonves.”

Milano has been an outspoken leader in Hollywood’s #MeToo movement, up to and including the ouster of Moonves as CBS chief executive amid a multitude of sexual misconduct allegations last fall. The movement has seen a number of accused abusers lose work, but a few, including Moonves and comedian Louis C.K., have already begun to make an attempt to revive their careers.

But Milano, and the other actresses and directors appearing alongside her on a panel to discuss women at the helm of movies and series for Lifetime, said they wouldn’t allow Hollywood to regress back to a point where people look the other way in the face of abusive or harassing behavior.

“I don’t think we can go back,” said “Jane Green’s To Have and To Hold” star, Erika Christensen.

“I won’t allow anybody to go back,” added Milano.

“Holding people accountable … that can be contractual, as well,” she said. “If you’re funding Les Moonves, or planning on working with him, you have to have an ironclad contract that enables full due process … There’s a lot of things that can go into place.”

Monika Mitchell, who directed Christensen in “To Have and To Hold,” cautioned not to underestimate the collective pull of women in decision-making positions in the industry.

“What I have felt much more strongly since 2016 is the ability to say ‘I won’t work with that person,'” Mitchell said. “I think if the 10 of us went, ‘I won’t work with that person,’ it actually means something now.”

“I think a statement has been made that everyone is aware of. We are saying that we are not going to take this anymore,” said actress Tiffany Hines, who stars in Lifetime’s “Pride & Prejudice in Atlanta.”

The women all agreed, the #MeToo movement is here to stay and its lasting effects on the industry will surely be felt going forward.

“I always joke that when animals are on set, the Humane Society is everywhere and yet women are made to get totally naked with not one protection mechanism anywhere,” Milano said. “I think all of that is totally going to change.”