Chris Cuomo gets fired from CNN for assisting his brother in dealing with sexual harassment charges

Chris Cuomo attends The Hollywood Reporter's annual Most Powerful People in Media cocktail reception on April 11, 2019, in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

CNN fired anchor Chris Cuomo on Saturday after revelations emerged about supporting his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, during the politician's recent sexual harassment claims.

The network suspended Chris Cuomo earlier this week to investigate his conduct following revelations by New York's attorney general that he was more involved than previously known in strategizing and reaching out to other journalists. At the same time, his brother fought for his job.

CNN retained a law firm to conduct the review. The firm recommended Chris Cuomo's termination, and CNN President Jeff Zucker notified the anchor of the decision on Saturday.

According to the network, "during the course of that review, additional information has come to light." CNN would not discuss the material or speculate its relevance to his brother.

"It goes without saying that these are not easy decisions to make, as there are numerous complex factors at play," Zucker wrote in an email to CNN staff on Saturday.

Cuomo responded to the decision on Twitter, calling it disheartening.

"This is not how I desired to end my time at CNN, but I have already explained why and how I assisted my brother. As unfortunate as this is, I cannot express how proud I am of the staff at Cuomo Prime Time and the job we accomplished as CNN's #1 show in the most competitive time slot," he said.

Despite the termination, CNN stated that it will continue to investigate Cuomo's behavior "as necessary."

As women came forward accusing former Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, his brother pressed sources for information on the accusers. Despite his CNN anchor status, he sent his findings to the governor's staff.

According to emails and a copy of his testimony to investigators working for state Attorney General Letitia James, he was instrumental in developing their response to the charges. Her agency determined that Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women; the former governor resigned in August to avert an impending impeachment trial.

Cuomo and CNN have been under fire for months over the behavior of its anchor. When it was revealed in May that the anchor had been communicating with his brother's advisers, CNN acknowledged that he had violated the network's rules. However, as CNN stated in a statement following his suspension earlier this week, "we also appreciated his unique position and understood his need to prioritize family over work."

The transcripts made public this week by James revealed a great deal more detail regarding Cuomo's role - details CNN said were a surprise to them as well.

While Cuomo has stated that he did not attempt to influence CNN's coverage of his brother, he admitted to James' investigators that he called other journalists to inquire about the information they had on some of his accusers.

Cuomo, however, stated on CNN in an on-air statement following his brother's August resignation, claiming, "I never made calls to the press about my brother's situation."

Cuomo also stated that he never "attacked, nor encouraged anyone to attack, any woman who made allegations against his brother." According to email transcripts revealed this week, Cuomo wrote to aides last week that "I have a lead" on one of the accusers, though it was unclear what he meant.

Things moved swiftly this week in the aftermath of the transcripts' release. CNN suspended him indefinitely on Tuesday, before his termination on Saturday.

"Cuomo Prime Time" has been the network's highest-rated show, airing between Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon at 9 p.m. Eastern. Its ratings have declined in 2021, as have most cable news networks in the post-election year.

However, it creates a sizable void in the network's schedule. Brian Williams, a former adversary, recently revealed his intention to leave MSNBC, where he has anchored a nightly news hour when his contract expires at the end of the year.

With one Cuomo brother serving as governor and another as a writer, there was always the possibility of conflict. However, since Chris Cuomo joined CNN in 2013 from ABC News, it has been made plain that he will not cover anything involving his brother.

That began to alter during the COVID-19 epidemic when the governor made multiple appearances on his brother's show, trading brotherly banter that was amusing but raised ethical red lights. They were then brought to a standstill.

Shelley Ross, a seasoned television executive, penned a letter for The New York Times in September alleging that Chris Cuomo molested her 16 years ago at an ABC News party. Cuomo told the publication that he "sincerely apologized to her at the time."

Publish : 2021-12-05 10:21:00

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