Disgraced ex-CNN anchor Chris Cuomo accused CNN President Jeff Zucker of having full knowledge of the now-former host’s involvement in attempting to quash the sexual harassment allegations against his brother, ex-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
CNN terminated Cuomo’s employment on Saturday after initially suspending him following a report from the New York state attorney general’s office that showed Cuomo worked tirelessly alongside his ex-governor brother’s handlers in order to keep bad publicity at bay.
What are the details?
Cuomo said that Zucker was fully aware of what was happening behind the scenes, according to a Sunday evening report from the Wall Street Journal.
The report, titled “CNN President Jeff Zucker Protected Chris Cuomo. Then Came a U-Turn,” alleged that Zucker stood by Cuomo as early as May following the accusations against the cable news anchor.
“In a virtual town hall with staffers in May, he conceded that Chris Cuomo had ‘made a mistake,’ but also said he wasn’t surprised that the anchor discussed the matter with his brother,” the report read. “Mr. Zucker said suspending Chris Cuomo would be ‘punishment for the sake of punishing.'”
The narrative quickly changed last week, however, after new information from the attorney general’s office surfaced — and an unrelated allegation of sexual misconduct against the embattled TV host.
“Mr. Zucker was taken by surprise by the attorney general’s report, and felt Mr. Cuomo misled him, according to people familiar with the situation,” the report continued. “On Saturday he completed a U-turn, firing Mr. Cuomo on a call, one of the people said.”
A spokesperson for Cuomo on Sunday told the outlet, “Mr. Cuomo has the highest level of admiration and respect for Mr. Zucker. They were widely known to be extremely close and in regular contact, including about the details of Mr. Cuomo’s support for his brother. There were no secrets about this, as other individuals besides Mr. Cuomo can attest.”
In a fiery statement, CNN said that Cuomo grossly mischaracterized the events as they reportedly took place.
“He has made a number of accusations that are patently false,” the network said in its statement. “This reinforces why he was terminated for violating our standards and practices, as well as his lack of candor.”
Attorney Debra Katz came forward this weekend and notified CNN that Cuomo reportedly engaged in sexual misconduct with a former colleague who wished to remain anonymous.
When asked why her client came forward now of all times, Katz said that she was motivated by Cuomo’s on-air statements purporting to support victims of sexual harassment and misconduct.
“Hearing the hypocrisy of Chris Cuomo’s on-air words and disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women, my client retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN,” Katz said in a statement on the allegation.
Cuomo has denied all allegations of sexual wrongdoing.
Steven Goldberg, a spokesman for Cuomo, said the allegations are not true.