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Julie Chen Moonves Speaks Out: “But First: God”


Trigger Warning: This article contains a discussion of sexual assault.

If you or anyone you know is struggling or needs help, The Sexual Assault National Helpline is available 24/7 free of charge at the number 1-800-656-4673.

Julie Chen Moonves is currently under fire in the media regarding her new audiobook, “But First: God” playing on her iconic phrase as the host of CBS’ “Big Brother”. The audio memoir discusses her spiritual journey after scandal in 2018.

Julie Chen Moonves is the long-time host of CBS’ “Big Brother” and also was one of the hosts of CBS’ “The Talk”. Chen Moonves is also married to former CBS CEO Les Moonves. Things changed in 2018 when Les Moonves was accused of 12 counts of sexual assault, all involving the workplace, going back to the 1980’s.

Moonves, who also was involved in the blacklisting of Janet Jackson after her 2004 Super Bowl Halftime show wardrobe malfunction that aired on CBS, was denied his $120 million severance pay due to his breach of contract. Following the allegation that Chen left the talk and started going by Julie Chen Moonves, rather than Julie Chen as she had in the past, Chen Moonves had stayed silent on all these allegations until now.

“But First: God” talks about her spiritual journey after her husband’s scandal in 2018. She also highlighted her changes as a person in an interview with “Good Morning America”: “I was self-absorbed, career-minded, vain, and a shallow person. Now, I am someone who wants to help others.”

For the first time, Chen Moonves shed light on her departure from “The Talk.” “I felt stabbed in the back,” she explains. She tells GMA that two of her former co-hosts told her if she didn’t leave, they would. “It’s one thing to be asked to leave by your boss, it’s another to be asked by your friends.”

But Chen Moonves isn’t making headlines for that, rather she is under fire for not acknowledging the #MeToo movement that took over the world in 2018, the same time her husband’s allegations were brought up. Within the audio memoir, there is no mention of #MeToo or #DefendHer. When asked about the #MeToo movement, Chen Moonves deflected making a statement by talking about her spirituality.

She was also asked how she handled the situation within her family, to which she stated, “I know my husband.”

She explains that the hardest part of the scandal was telling her son. “I told him there were some graphic false reports about our family, so if you hear or see anything come to us first,” Chen Moonves recalls.  “You know our family and you know us, and they are not true.”

CBS has not made a comment on the audio memoir.

“But First: God” is under fire for the lack of sensitivity from Chen Moonves towards the #MeToo movement, but it does reveal a lot about Chen Moonves’ career and spirituality. For those interested in listening to “But First: God”, it is available for purchase on Amazon.

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About the Contributor
Elizabeth Ippolito
Elizabeth Ippolito, Executive Producer: #THAT, Television Beat Reporter
Liz Ippolito is a Grad student studying Cinematic Production Management and recently graduated with her bachelors in TV, Film, and Media Arts with a Minor in Media Studies. She is from Oradell New Jersey and is returning for her second year as the Executive Producer on #THAT. Ippolito also serves as the Television beat reporter for the station.

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