Julie Chen Moonves appeared on Good Morning America to discuss her new audiobook, But First, God, which is out today. During the interview with Juju Chang, she also revealed how she felt about leaving The Talk, and whether she confronted her husband, Les Moonves, amid the sexual misconduct allegations that he faced in 2018.
The book chronicles her discovery of faith and God after her life was turned upside down when the accusations against Les Moonves were made public. Moonves, at the time, was the CEO and chairman of CBS. In describing herself before finding God, she said:
"Julie Chen before she found God was a self-absorbed, career-minded, vain, gossipy, fun to be with, but probably kind of a shallow person.”
But now, she describes herself as:
"Julie Chen Moonves, who now knows the Lord, is someone who wants to help others, who wants to look at everyone with a soft heart.”
She said God played a huge role in helping her navigate feelings of being “stabbed in the back” when she left The Talk, saying that the decision was made for her by her CBS colleagues, despite her exit announcement chalking her departure up to needing to spend more time with her family.
"Yeah, I never revealed that until 'But First, God.' That was a hard time. I felt stabbed in the back. I was, you know? I don't know if I could've reconciled if I didn't have God in my life," she said.
When Juju tried to press Julie on whether she confronted Les about the numerous sexual assault allegations that were levied against him, Julie became defensive.
“Well that’s not what we’re here to talk about,” she said. “But of course, yeah, I know my husband. You know? I know my husband.”
Recently, there have been a string of celebrities showing their asses when it comes to offering support to known abusers. I covered Iggy Azalea’s letter in support of Tory Lanez, which she was adamant about only having written under the understanding it would remain private. And last week, Maria wrote a thoughtful piece on Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ mea culpa (kinda, but also not really?) for submitting a letter of support for convicted rapist Danny Masterson.
In her piece, Maria talked about the short shelf life of stories like this. Stories where celebrities are held accountable, which they truly hate. And not only did we see that in the Ashton and Mila video, but we see that in this interview with Julie.
Why would she believe that after just five years, which really is not a long time considering the magnitude, not only of the allegations but of the entire #MeToo movement, that she, as Les’s wife, would not have to face questions about it?
What is it with celebrities fading into the background, which she kind of did, save for her still hosting Big Brother, where she all of a sudden began signing off as Julie Chen Moonves after the allegations surfaced, which is an entirely separate conversation, by the way, and then popping up to say they found God and they’re releasing a memoir, podcast or some other deeply personal project?
She couldn’t have possibly thought that our memories were so short and forgiving that we would allow her to just come on national television, as if the very thing that catapulted her into her newfound faith didn’t happen, right? But in a way, that’s kind of exactly what she was allowed to do. I mean, it was only last year that Les and Paramount Global agreed to pay more than $9 million to shareholders over sexual misconduct claims against him.
Yet, one year later, she came on a national broadcast, welcomed Juju and cameras into her home – and even recited a prayer on camera, which I must say is the cringiest thing I’ve seen since the love surge. She got to drop bombs about feeling stabbed in the back after being forced out of The Talk, because we all know that she must have expected it to be business as usual over there. And then she got to talk about how much of a God-fearing woman she is now.
"What I love is I do not need to come to a church or sit before a cross to pray. I'll pray after I hit the snooze button, lying in bed. I'll pray in the shower. I'll pray sitting in the makeup chair. I'll pray driving. I'll pray anytime, anywhere," she said.
The only thing I got from this interview is that Les’s sense of entitlement and power has really rubbed off on Julie. It comes across that Julie feels like she does not owe anyone any sort of explanation for her own response to the sexual harassment and abuse that multiple women experienced at the hand of her husband. And I have to give it to Juju because she pushed.
When she asked her about her response to the #MeToo movement and the idea behind Believe Her, Julie still resisted.
“Well, I think that’s getting off track from ‘But First, God’,” she replied. “I think people…we all go through hard times in this world, in our life. Mine are not over just because I found Christ. I think we need to keep our focus on him.”
Julie is really showing her true colours here. And despite claims that she’s found God, what she’s actually found is an excuse to not talk about the truth of the matter. What she’s actually found is the convenience of coming across as a spiritual woman. What she’s found is a substitute response to questions that make her uncomfortable and more importantly, questions that hold her accountable.
I was apprehensive to look at the comment section, because that’s another place people show their asses. But to my surprise, it doesn’t appear that she’s fooling anyone. I was so relieved to see that people are refusing to give her the pass that she’s so desperately seeking.
Though there are a ton of celebrities that are owed a lot more heat than they were ever given, I think the more we take celebrities like Ashton, Mila, Iggy and now Julie to task, the more they will understand that escaping accountability isn’t as easy as it once was.