Julie Chen skips 'The Talk' premiere as co-stars slam Les Moonves: 'Obviously, the man has a problem'

Season 9 of The Talk premiered Monday minus co-host, Julie Chen. The television personality and wife of Les Moonves released a statement Monday, saying that she’s taking some personal time in the wake of the scandal.

“I am taking a few days off from The Talk to be with my family,” Chen told the Wrap, minutes before the show began. “I will be back soon and will see you Thursday night on Big Brother.

Moonves stepped down Sunday after more women came forward accusing the CBS chairman and CEO of sexual misconduct. He called the allegations “untrue,” adding that the claims “are not consistent with who I am.” Moonves’s announcement was addressed by the ladies of The Talk, which airs on CBS, and it’s probably best that Chen wasn’t sitting around the table.

Sheryl Underwood, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Eve, and Julie Chen return for Season 9 of The Talk. (Photo: Andrew Eccles/CBS)

“We’re about to talk about something that affects everybody’s lives here at CBS,” Sharon Osbourne said at the top of the show. “As you all know, Julie’s husband is in the news and she’s taking off time to be with her family.”

Osbourne appeared visibly nervous broaching the topic.

“First of all, I want to say whatever times of hardship I’ve had over the last eight years, Julie has always been there for me,” said Osbourne, adding she “greatly” admires and respects her co-star. “It’s very embarrassing and upsetting to have to talk about her husband, but we do. We feel it’s right. I personally knew Les Moonves in a superficial way … I know nothing about the man other than he’s Julie’s husband and he was the head of the biggest network in the world.”

Osbourne continued, “I was asked a couple of months ago to make a statement supporting Leslie, which I felt I was as diplomatic as I could be with the statement that I made. But now, after seven more women have come out, the stories are so similar, the pattern so similar, that for me — he’s not been convicted of any crime — but obviously, the man has a problem.”

In July, Osbourne offered support for Moonves after six women accused him of harassment and misconduct in a New Yorker exposé by Ronan Farrow. Osbourne tweeted at the time: “Interesting timing, seems like an attempt to discredit Leslie before a major court case. I hope people don’t rush to judgement and let @CBS conduct their investigation. Sending my love and support to my friends @JulieChen and Leslie Moonves.” The message has since been deleted.

Sara Gilbert also offered support on air to Chen.

“I agree Julie is our friend … I love her, I support her always; however, this is an important time in our culture,” she added. “Just because this hits close to home, it doesn’t change this story. All women’s stories matter and these women’s stories matter. This is very serious and the appropriate actions need to take place. I am happy when women are heard because for a long time they haven’t been.”

Osbourne interjected that although many of the women who have come forward with claims against Moonves say the incidents allegedly happened more than two decades ago, it doesn’t matter. “Somebody who breaks somebody’s life like that has to be held accountable,” she said.

Sheryl Underwood was equally passionate in advocating for the women who came forward.

“The Julie Chen I know is very strong. A resilient woman. But I think this is a blessing from God to be unburdened from secrets,” she said. “Now is the time for everyone to look inside themselves and become better people and treat others the way they want to be treated.”

Underwood continued, “He was Mr. Moonves to me too. … Today we say enough is enough. Today we say, ‘We believe you. We hear you.'”

The support from her co-hosts is probably appreciated — particularly given Kathy Griffin’s scathing criticism of Chen. In a revealing Twitter thread on Sunday, the comedian called out both Moonves and Chen, alleging Chen was complicit in some of his behavior.

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