In her pre-recorded announcement that she would be leaving The Talk, Julie Chen made a reference to sisterhood. "I know this show—and the sisterhood it stands for—will live on for many, many, many more years to come," she said. Her tearful exit came after weeks of Chen defending her husband, CBS Chairman Les Moonves, amidst multiple, horrific stories of sexual assault.
When she ended an episode of Big Brother earlier this month by referring to herself as "Julie Chen Moonves" (for the first time ever), there was no doubt about where Chen stood—and it wasn't on the side of sisterhood.
Though careful to keep Chen's name out of it, the ladies of The Talk initially made their feelings about her husband pretty clear. Sharon Osbourne admitted she felt nervous and said: “He’s not been convicted of any crime, but obviously the man has a problem.” Sara Gilbert agreed: “Just because this hits close to home, it doesn’t change this story. All women’s stories matter.” Sheryl Underwood announced: “Today, we say enough is enough.”
Yet, after Chen's farewell aired, the camera panned back to her ex-co-hosts, two of whom were crying. “Thank you so much, Julie, for the kind words," Sara Gilbert said. "I know I speak for all the hosts when I say thank you for eight years of dear friendship… We love you, Julie.”
While the mutual respect shared between Chen and her co-hosts felt in keeping with the always-supportive tone of the show, allowing Chen a continued platform to appear sympathetic was an indefensible choice in the face of her outspokenness on behalf of her husband. It sent a message that, while The Talk's hosts believe Les Moonves is guilty, they have no issue with Chen being an apologist for him.