UPDATED Sunday, 6:37 AM PST: Chris Cuomo was fired from CNN after a junior colleague made an allegation about sexual misconduct. The New York Times reported.
Cuomo denied the allegation through his spokesperson. He told the Times that “these apparently anonymous allegations are false.”
CNN fired Cuomo following a review of the new information regarding Cuomo’s assistance to Andrew Cuomo in his sexual harassment case. In August, the governor of New York resigned.
Debra Katz, an attorney, told the Times that the allegation was not related to Gov. Andrew Cuomo matter” She stated that she had informed the network on Wednesday.
The spokesperson for Katz and Cuomo did not immediately respond when asked. Cuomo was fired after it was unclear what role the allegation played. CNN spokesperson stated that the company had cause to terminate on Sunday based on a report regarding Chris’s conduct in defense of his brother. We took the new allegations seriously and did not hesitate to take immediate action when they were made public.
Shelley Ross was a former executive producer of ABC News and CBS News. She wrote a piece for The New York Times in September in which she recounted a 2005 incident where Chris Cuomo had groped her at a party for a colleague. Cuomo stated that the interaction was not sexual and she acknowledged this in a statement to The Times. It took place 16 years ago, in public, when she was a high-ranking executive at ABC. “I did not mean to apologize.”
PREVIOUSLY CNN stated today, that anchor Chris Cuomo was “terminated” by their network, “effectively immediately.”
This is because an outside firm was hired to investigate how Cuomo helped his brother Andrew Cuomo (former governor of New York State), when he was accused in sexual harassment.
CNN stated that Chris Cuomo had been suspended earlier in the week, pending further evaluations of new information about his involvement in his brother’s defense. We retained a respected law company to review the matter and we have fired him immediately.
CNN added that “While in the course of that review additional information has been discovered,” CNN’s statement said. “We will continue to investigate, despite the termination.”
Cuomo made his own statement.
“This is not the way I want my time at CNN end, but I have already explained why and how my brother helped me. Let me tell you, as disappointing as it is, that I couldn’t be prouder of the Cuomo Premier Time team and the work they did to become CNN’s #1 program in the most competitive time slot. They are all my debts and I will miss this group of people who did such important work.
CNN President Jeff Zucker sent a memo to employees on Saturday saying, “Today, Chris was informed that we are terminating his employment at CNN.” These decisions are difficult and involve many complex factors, it is obvious.
Cuomo’s fall gained momentum when documents released earlier this week by New York Attorney General Letitia James following an investigation into the governor revealed that Chris Cuomo had a greater role in his brother’s cover story.
text messages from James’s office revealed the true nature of Chris Cuomo’s assistance. It showed Chris Cuomo declaring that he would use his media connections in order to help his brother.
James released documents that showed that Chris Cuomo used his media sources to obtain information about possible new bombshells regarding his brother. Then he kept his brother’s team updated on what was going to be published.
Cuomo claimed in a deposition he wasn’t engaged in “opposition research” against his brother. Another transcript of Cuomo’s deposition with Andrew Cuomo’s advisors pointed out one instance in which Chris Cuomo had forwarded “purported sets of documents regarding Charlotte Bennett” from her college days. This was a New York Times article dated February 27.
In May, Cuomo was revealed to have participated in a strategy session with his brother and his governor’s staff. Zucker and CNN stood by Cuomo. After Cuomo failed to cover Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal, the network acknowledged that Cuomo “often serves as an sounding board for his brother.” But, it was inappropriate to have conversations with Governor’s staff members, which Chris admits. The network stated that Cuomo would not be participating in these conversations moving forward.
Chris Cuomo admitted on the air it was a mistake for him to participate in the staff calls to advice his brother.
Cuomo’s role as adviser to his brother was still criticized by the network. Jake Tapper stated to The New York Times, that Cuomo had put the network in “a bad place.”
Cuomo’s fate was first revealed several hours after text messages were published. They issued a statement stating that they were reviewing the messages. The network issued a statement the next day stating that they were reviewing them. We are now astonished at the documents that were released before they were made public. We were shocked when Chris confessed to us that he had given advice to his brother’s staff. We appreciated his unique situation and could understand his need to prioritize family and work. These documents show that he was involved in more of his brother’s efforts then we thought. We have therefore suspended Chris indefinitely pending further investigation.
Next week, 9 PM ET will be hosted by Michael Smerconish under the title CNN Primetime. Cuomo’s departure will create a huge hole in the network’s schedule at a time where all cable news outlets are struggling with a drop in viewership after last year’s presidential election. Tapper is one of the candidates to fill the spot. His afternoon show was extended to two hours in January, and he was appointed lead anchor for all D.C. events.
The network is also facing new owners with Discovery’s combination WarnerMedia set to close in the middle of next. John Malone, Liberty Media’s largest shareholder, recently told CNBC that he would like CNN to return to the type of journalism it began with. He also said that he wanted to see journalists who are unique and refreshing. My opinion is that a coward would sell it or spin off the company and then sell it. Make sure it’s tax efficient.
Cuomo was formerly a host of ABC News’ morning program in 2013. After a long stint at ABC News, Cuomo was appointed host of the morning program New Day and was promoted to primetime in 2018. Although the show was a strong performer, its main rivals on cable news, Fox News’ Hannity, and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, had a larger viewership, it has been a steady performer.
Cuomo’s dismissal is also the latest shakeup to the cable news industry. Maddow signed a new contract with NBCUniversal in August but reportedly wants to reduce her weeknight schedule. Brian Williams announced that he will be leaving the network. He has been hosting an 11 pm ET newscast on the network since 2016. Williams has not yet revealed what he plans to do next.
Below is Zucker’s memo for staffers:
December 4, 2021
We all know that we had to suspend Chris Cuomo earlier this week while we analyzed new information regarding his involvement in the brother’s defense. Today I informed Chris that CNN is terminating his employment. These decisions aren’t easy and involve many complex factors. As always, I wanted to be open with you all.
Ted Johnson contributed this report.
Below is the statement we will soon release publicly.
STATEMENT FROM CNN
Chris Cuomo was temporarily suspended this week in order to allow us to evaluate new information about Chris’s involvement in the defense of his brother. The review was conducted by a respected law office. We have now terminated Chris Cuomo, effective immediately. During the review, we discovered additional information. We will continue to investigate the matter, despite the termination.