The Difficult Decision Faced By Spouses Caught Up in The #MeToo Era

Women like Julie Chen and Georgina Chapman face a dilemma as their husbands face allegations of sexual misconduct.

Leslie Moonves, left, and Julie Chen arrive at the Wolfgang Puck's Post-Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony Celebration at Spago on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, in Beverly Hills, CA. (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

When Julie Chen, who has hosted Big Brother since its premiere in 2000, signed off at the end of an episode of the show on Sept. 13, she went off script.

“I’m Julie Chen Moonves,” she said. “Goodnight.”

Normally, the use of Chen’s married name might not mean much. But it came during her first on-air appearance since her husband, Les Moonves, resigned from CBS amid allegations of sexual harassment and assault days before. It was hard, therefore, to see the sign-off as anything but a show of support for her husband. Chen has continued to use her married name on Big Brother, reports The Los Angeles Times. 

Chen’s decision illustrates the difficult predicament faced by the  partners of men disgraced by allegations of misconduct. Often, spouses are, fairly or not, accused of complicity or willful blindness.

Last fall, Georgina Chapman was put in a similar position. Not only was she the wife of Harvey Weinstein, but she was linked to her husband professionally as well, since her fashion line, Marchesa, was often worn by stars on the red carpet. Chapman announced her marriage was over days after numerous women went on the record to accuse the producer of sexual harassment, rape and assault.

Camille Cosby, wife of the disgraced comedian Bill Cosby, has repeatedly defended her husband. And of course there is Hillary Clinton, who stood by her husband through infidelity and accusations of rape and sexual harassment.

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