“CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell on Monday addressed the forced resignation of network CEO Les Moonves, which came on Sunday just hours after seven new women accused the media mogul of sexual harassment or assault.
“He was my boss and that makes it really hard to comment on it,” she said at the top of Monday’s broadcast.
“Les has always treated me fairly and with respect,” O’Donnell said. “Still, it’s been for me another sleepless night thinking about this, the pain that women feel, the courage that it takes for women to come forward and talk about this.”
She mentioned an offscreen conversation with co-host Gayle King, who was not on set on Monday, about how the news comes just 10 months after the ouster of “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Charlie Rose last November after sexual misconduct accusations against him.
“But Gayle sorta said, ‘Yeah, but I didn’t think we’d still be the story in September,'” she said. “Ten months later and we’re still talking about this.”
She added, “There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It’s systematic and it is pervasive in our culture. And this I know is true, to the core of my being: Women cannot achieve equality in the workplace or in society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility.”
On Sunday, Moonves agreed to step down from the company he has led for decades, though he called the accusations against him “untrue.”
The announcement came just hours after new reports by the New Yorker and Vanity Fair that brought the number of female accusers to 13.
According to “CBS This Morning,” he was offered a severance of $80 million in stock — a deal that is on hold pending the outcome of an investigation by two law firms into the misconduct accusations.
Watch the video above.