DECEMBER 5, 2021
On Monday, November 29, new documents raised questions about Chris Cuomo’s involvement with his brother’s attempt to remain governor of New York following sexual harassment allegations. On Tuesday, Cuomo was suspended “indefinitely,” and on Saturday, December 4, Chris Cuomo was officially fired from CNN. The network announced the news with a statement, saying that the decision came, in part, after an internal investigation found “additional information.” CNN also promised that, “Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate.”
Cuomo confirmed the news with a statement of his own, shared to social media. “This is not how I want my time at CNN to end but I have already told you why and how I helped my brother,” he wrote in part. “So let me now say as disappointing as this is, I could not be more proud of the team at Cuomo Prime Time and the work we did as CNN’s #1 show in the most competitive time slot.”
Despite Cuomo’s statement suggesting that he was fired solely because of his involvement in attempting to protect his brother, former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, from harassment allegations, it seems that might not have been the case. Hours after Cuomo’s termination was announced, The New York Times published new reporting that on Wednesday, lawyer Debra S. Katz “informed CNN of a client with an allegation of sexual misconduct against Chris Cuomo.”
According to NYT, the allegations were brought forward “by a former junior colleague at another network.” CNN acknowledged that it had heard the claims, though it did not say whether it was the reason for Cuomo’s firing. Cuomo denied the allegations through a spokesperson, Steven Goldberg, who told the Times, “These apparently anonymous allegations are not true.” (It should be noted that this is not the first time Cuomo has been accused of inappropriate behavior in the workplace.)
The new allegations came the day after Chris Cuomo was suspended by CNN, when the network was still conducting an internal investigation on the transcripts from the New York attorney general’s office, which suggested the host of Cuomo Prime Time had used his status as a journalist to investigate the women accusing his brother, former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, of harassment. (Andrew Cuomo has long denied any wrongdoing, but he did resign on August 10.)
Cuomo’s private communications with members of his brother’s staff, which suggested that he had been using sources to find out about the reporting from other news outlets on his brother, seemingly conflicted with his previous on-air statements. “I never attacked nor encouraged anyone to attack any woman who came forward. I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation,” he said after the former governor resigned in August.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 30, 2021
On Wednesday, December 1, Cuomo addressed his suspension during an episode of his SiriusXM show Let’s Get After It. “Quick note about the obvious — I’ve been suspended from CNN,” he said. “You know this already. It hurts to even say it. It’s embarrassing.” Cuomo went on to say that he “understands” the suspension. “I’ve apologized in the past, I mean it. The last thing I ever wanted to do was compromise any of my colleagues and do anything but help,” he said. “I know they have a process that they think is important. I respect that process, so I’m not gonna talk about this anymore than that.”
Both CNN and its viewers have known for months that Chris Cuomo was involved in coaching his brother’s response to allegations of sexual harassment. In May, reports emerged that he had advised the then-governor not to resign following many accusations of inappropriate conduct. At the time, Chris Cuomo downplayed his involvement with his brother’s PR strategy and apologized on air for what many considered to have been a breach of journalistic ethics. “It will not happen again. It was a mistake,” he said then.