Late-night comedian Stephen Colbert addressed the allegations of workplace misconduct against the senior vice president of talent for CBS Televisions Studios, Vincent ‘Vinnie’ Favale, during his show on Wednesday, while also using the case to attack President Donald Trump’s criticism of the media.
“At the heart of so many of our public discussions right now is the story of powerful men protecting other men in power, and there are a lot of examples of this,” Colbert said on Wednesday’s show.
Colbert then referenced a report by CNN on how Favale, who worked as a programming executive for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert until 2017, was placed on administrative leave over allegations from nine current and former CBS employees that Favale used “sexual and homophobic language in the workplace.”
“An article came out on CNN today about an executive at CBS, who used to be the liaison to this show. And there’s only one show on the East Coast, and it was us,” Colbert said. “He [Favale] basically came with the building when I got this show and used to be around here a lot.”
“About six months into the show some of our employees said they were uncomfortable with some things that he said, so we took their complaints to HR,” he continued. ” 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.”
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, CBS said that Favale’s alleged behavior was “offensive and not consistent with the standards we expect from our executives.”
“The network investigated a complaint for inappropriate language that was received in January 2016, and corrective action was taken,” the CBS statement read. “However, since concerned voices are speaking up nearly three years later, additional review is warranted. Mr. Favale has been placed on leave while we look into this situation further.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Favale issued his own statement flatly denying the allegations:
Allegations that I have ever retaliated against anyone in any fashion are 100% false. I have spent my entire career working at comedy shows, where there has always been a wide latitude to make transgressive jokes while preparing the program. While we make a lot of jokes, these jokes attributed to me, whether said in rehearsals or production meetings, are being taken out of context and were not said in the way being presented here.”
Colbert meanwhile, said he was grateful to CNN for publishing the allegations, before challenging President Trump’s belief that mainstream media outlets such as CNN and The New York Times are the enemy of the people.
“I’m grateful to CNN for writing this article. The press is not the enemy of the people,” Stephen Colbert added. “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.”