Kathy Griffin has changed her tune on Julie Chen, the CBS host and wife of the network ‘s former CEO and President Les Moonves. In a series of tweets, the comedian — who once doled out zings to the house guests on Chen’s long-running CBS reality show Big Brother and was featured as part of a takeover twist in 2015 — said she no longer supports Chen in the aftermath of her husband’s alleged bad behavior toward women.
According to The Mercury News, Griffin initially defended Chen when Moonves was accused of sexual misconduct by six women in a scathing report by Ronan Farrow for The New Yorker. Griffin, who claims she always liked Chen, originally said The Talk and Big Brother host shouldn’t suffer backlash over her husband’s alleged behavior.
But Griffin did a 180 after talking to people in the industry over the past few weeks. After The New Yorker published a second report on Moonves with graphic allegations from six additional women accusing the CBS head of sexual harassment and assault, Griffin couldn’t hold back.
Kathy Griffin posted a lengthy Twitter thread bashing both Moonves and Chen. In addition to her own story that Moonves blocked her — and indeed any woman — from ever hosting a late night show on CBS, the comic called out the CBS power couple amid reports that Moonves set out to ruin Janet Jackson’s career following her infamous wardrobe malfunction with Justin Timberlake. Said event, which would go “viral” long before the term was popularized, took place during the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show, which was broadcast on CBS.
During the live CBS broadcast in 2004, Jackson’s breast was exposed to 100 million TV viewers after Timberlake tore open her bustier. CBS was fined $550,000 by the Federal Communications Commission and Moonves — who reportedly believed the malfunction was intentional — was furious. The CBS CEO banned both Timberlake and Jackson from performing at the Grammy Awards ceremony the following week and allegedly ordered all Viacom-owned radio stations and networks to stop playing Jackson’s music. The fallout drastically impacted sales of Jackson’s 2004 album Damita Jo, which was released one month after the Super Bowl.
While both musicians were reportedly banned from CBS, Timberlake performed at the Grammy Awards one week later, while a previously scheduled Janet Jackson was scrapped from the lineup entirely. Timberlake would go on to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime Show this year.
Griffin became angry when watching a clip of a “smug” Chen saying Jackson never apologized for the wardrobe mishap as she defended Timberlake’s return to the CBS stage during an episode of The Talk earlier this year.
E) And then this clip of Julie speaking so smugly about Janet Jackson in 2017 really set me off. Julie knew her husband helped to destroy Janet's career and this is how she speaks? https://t.co/peruGy3AZz— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) September 9, 2018
Griffin also revealed that when Moonves’ scandal first broke in July, she messaged Chen about the possibility of appearing on The Talk, but she never heard back. Griffin blew it off, saying she assumed Chen was “swamped with the scandal.”
But over the past week, Griffin took to Twitter to share that her opinion of Chen has changed based on recent accounts about how the CBS host “has treated people from folks that I know personally” as well as a recent Huffington Post story which alleged that Moonves held a personal vendetta against Jackson following the Super Bowl scandal — and was set on destroying her career.
Griffin shared a message she wrote to Julie Chen last week as a follow up to her unanswered offer to appear on The Talk.
“You know what Julie?” She wrote, “I’ve changed my mind. F*** you and f***ing your misogynistic husband… You two deserve each other. Bye b***h.”
Les Moonves is now out at CBS, while Chen’s future at the network remains unclear. As part of Moonves’ financial settlement, $20 million will be donated to the #MeToo movement.