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CBS' long-standing legacy and network glory have come into question multiple times due to situations involving sexual misconduct in and out of the workplace. The biggest hit of all came recently when CBS head honcho Les Moonves was accused of inappropriate behavior by at least six different women, with actress Illeana Douglas being a well-known name in the group. Longtime CBS show creator Chuck Lorre, of Big Bang Theory fame, gave a roundabout response to Moonves' situation by way of promoting the importance of a safe and courtesy-driven work environment.
What's going on with CBS, let's talk later. I don't think this is the venue to discuss what is going on there. I do think it's important to have a safe work environment. I've been in some unsafe environments in television [during the original run for Roseanne] and you can read about them. You can't do good work in an unsafe environment, and it had to be made safe for everyone. Why would anyone want to go to work in an environment that's not nurturing? You certainly can't do comedy if you're frightened, and you certainly can't do good work if the environment doesn't support you and look after your best interests. That should go without saying. I can't believe we actually have to have that conversation --- it should go without saying. It's common courtesy and decency to take care of each other.
Chuck Lorre wasn't meant to be broaching the recent bombshell accusations made against Les Moonves, as he was on stage at the TCA summer press event (via THR) in part to discuss his upcoming Netflix comedy The Kominsky Method, which stars Michael Douglas, Alan Alda and more. But Lorre has long been a part of CBS' ratings success, thanks to shows like Two and a Half Men, Mike & Molly and Mom. So it only makes sense that his thoughts would be sought out by parties curious to know if he was aware of any salacious behavior going on, whether Moonves was involved or not.
By his account, Chuck Lorre doesn't seem to have witnessed or been engaged in any overwhelmingly negative or unsafe experiences during his time with CBS, though he has had some rough times behind the scenes in the past. (He was fired from Roseanne in the early '90s after butting heads with others over creative differences.) What's more, Lorre thinks it's a no-brainer that the upper ranks at any network should provide an environment that is not only safe, but also one that nurtures and promotes the material being crafted. It's no fun to imagine anyone writing goofy, pop culture-driven conversation between Sheldon and Leonard if all the Big Bang writers are uncomfortable and afraid of awkward interactions with their superiors.
Les Moonves is hardly the first CBS employee to face a string of accusations tied to inappropriate behavior, both sexual and non-sexual. Former talk show host and news anchor Charlie Rose was fired from CBS and PBS after multiple women came forth with stories of sexual harassment and more. Wisdom of the Crowd star Jeremy Piven was accused of sexual assault by multiple women, with alleged incidents happening throughout his Hollywood career, which probably played a part in why the show wasn't renewed for Season 2. And then NCIS: New Orleans' former showrunner Brad Kern was accused of several sexual harassment violations and anger issues after joining the show in 2016, but it was only after the #MeToo movement gained traction that the case was reexamined, leading to Kern being fired and replaced as showrunner. (Though he's not entirely gone from the network.)
While waiting to hear more about Les Moonves' particular situation, check out how Chuck Lorre teased upcoming connections between The Big Bang Theory and its prequel Young Sheldon. And don't forget to tune into The Kominsky Method when it debuts on Netflix on Friday, November 16, at 12:01 a.m. PT. And then check out our summer premiere schedule and our fall premiere guide to see all the new and returning shows that are on the way.