Julie Chen returned to host Big Brother last Wednesday, but fans won't be seeing her on The Talk for at least another week, RadarOnline.com has learned exclusively.
Behind-the-scenes insiders believe the newswoman "will voluntarily step aside permanently from the show" amid the sexual misconduct scandal that forced her husband Les Moonves to step down as the head of CBS.
“People at The Talk believe she’ll decide not to come back,” said a source. “For now, she’s taking at least a week off.”
Chen, 48, issued a statement Sept. 10 saying she would only be taking a “few days” hiatus from the popular talk show as the CBS fallout continued.
“I am taking a few days off from The Talk to be with my family,” Julie noted.
She also shocked viewers with a subtle shoutout to her disgraced husband during her Big Brother sign off, making it clear that she is on his side.
Looking straight at the camera, the TV star said: “I’m Julie Chen Moonves. Goodnight.”
As Radar reported, CBS announced they are parting ways with the 68-year-old exec after 15 years at the network helm since he’s been plagued by allegations of sexual harassment by a total of 12 women.
One alleged victim, Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, a now-retired TV executive who worked with Moonves in the 1980s, said she filed a police report late last year with the Los Angeles Police Department, accusing Moonves of “physically restraining her and forcing her to perform oral sex on him, and of exposing himself to her and violently throwing her against a wall in later incidents.”
Another alleged victim, Jessica Pallingston, a writer, claimed that Moonves “coerced her into performing oral sex on him when she worked as his temporary assistant, in the nineties, and that, after she repelled subsequent sexual advances, he became hostile, at one point calling her a ‘c***t.’ ”
When the scandal first broke, others described “forcible touching or kissing during business meetings” and yet at the time the 48-year-old TV star supported her husband, calling him “a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader.”
As Radar previously reported, Chen, who’s been married to Moonves for 14 years, is worried her career will be collateral damage as her husband’s reputation goes up in flames: “Julie is talented, but her career is so tied to Les’ that if he gets fired,” said a source, “she’s in big trouble, too.”
Moonves released his own statement to The New Yorker, acknowledging the possibility that he made some women uncomfortable with sexual advances but vehemently denying charges of sexual assault.
He wrote, “Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company. I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances.”
Moonves added, “Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected—and abided by the principle—that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”
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