As she signed off from the show, she looked at the camera and said, “I’m Julie Chen Moonves. Goodnight.”
It was the first time that she has used the last name Moonves on the show — and it came just days after her husband was fired after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.
Moonves has admitted to acting inappropriately in the past but said he has always “understood and respected — and abided by the principle — that ‘no’ means ‘no,’” and never misused his “position to harm or hinder anyone’s career.”
Chen’s sign off elicited gasps in the control room. “No one was angry,” a source in Big Brother production tells PEOPLE. “It was more like ‘Did she just say that? I can’t believe she just said that.’”
The source says that Chen’s message was crystal clear to people who work on the show. “Everyone knows that it’s a big ‘f— you’ to CBS that she did it, because she never, ever refers to herself as anything but Julie Chen.”
“It’s sort of perfect when you think about it,” the source continues. “The casual viewer probably didn’t even notice, but I promise you that the network did. They were watching every single second of the show to see if she would do anything. They must have been breathing a sigh of relief because the show was almost over, and then that happened!”