“The Late Late Show” host James Corden emceed the ceremony, which recognized Moonves and other distinguished guests for their dedication to the humanitarian organization and its Museum of Tolerance, as well as their commitments to stopping the spread of anti-semitism and other acts of hatred.
After introducing himself and addressing the attendees, Corden joked, “But tonight is not about me, and it’s not about you. It’s about the man who is singlehandedly responsible for years and years of unprecedented success at CBS. I am talking, of course, about the one, the only, Mr. Chuck Lorre.”
The comedian then redirected his attention to the actual man of the hour in a sincere turn, thanking Moonves for taking a chance on him as the new host of “The Late Late Show” three years ago.
“I owe it all to you, Les, I truly do,” Corden said. “You’ll never know what you’ve done for me, what you’ve done for my family.”
Throughout the night, other speakers, including WndrCo’s Jeffrey Katzenberg, Wiesenthal Center Chairpersons Larry Mizel and Dawn Arnall, and Rabbi Marvin Hier, spoke out on multiple political topics, denouncing the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, mass school shootings, terrorism, and the administrations of Russia and North Korea.
Unlike last year’s dinner, during which Barbra Streisand criticized President Trump’s White House for failing to mention the Jewish community in its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, Hier praised the Trump administration’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
During his acceptance speech, Moonves stressed the importance of organizations like the Wiesenthal Center in a world that “seems to be moving in a very dangerous direction,” comparing current events to early signs of the Holocaust.
“I know a lot of you have been to the Museum (of Tolerance). I recently went, and one of the places you go takes you through the history of the Holocaust and what happened in Germany and the rest of Europe, step-by-step,” Moonves said. “People that might have said stop said nothing until the person that was in the air had a chance to spread that poison, and then suddenly it was too late, and the evil then begun in the 1920s to cultivate possible the Final Solution just a few years later.”
Moonves then expanded his commentary to today, adding,”Can such a thing happen now? A few years ago, I probably would have said, ‘Absolutely not.’ But today, with authoritarian regimes gaining traction just about everywhere around the world, I’m just not so sure.”
Other honorees at the National Tribute Dinner included Medal of Valor recipients Raheel Raza, a muslim activist against Islamic extremism, as well as the late Israel prime minister and Moonves’ great uncle, David Ben-Gurion, whose grandson accepted the medal in his honor. Also in attendance were CBS television personality and Moonves’ wife Julie Chen, last year’s humanitarian award recipient NBCUniversal’s Ron Meyer, Lionsgate’s Jon Feltheimer, Paramount’s Jim Gianopulos, and actress Lynda Carter.
The event raised more than $2.6 million for the organization’s efforts.