CNN fired Chris Cuomo after an allegation of sexual misconduct was brought against him while he was under investigation by the network for helping his brother, the former governor of New York, get himself defend against own allegations of harassment.
On Sunday, Debra Katz, a prominent labor lawyer in the United States, said her client reported allegations of sexual misconduct involving Cuomo to CNN on Wednesday.
âOn Friday, I was in discussion with CNN to provide documentary evidence of my client’s allegations and to make my client available for an interview with CNN’s outside lawyer. Last night, CNN reacted quickly to my client’s complaint and fired Mr. Cuomo, âKatz said.
Last week, the New York attorney general explained how the reporter helped defend his brother Andrew Cuomo against multiple allegations of sexual assault while he was governor of New York.
On Sunday, CNN said, âBased on the report we received regarding Chris’s conduct in defense of his brother, we had reason to shut down. When new allegations reached us this week, we took them seriously and saw no reason to delay taking immediate action. “
Chris Cuomo did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the sexual misconduct complaint.
His brother Andrew was forced to resign his governorship in August after Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, discovered he had violated federal and state laws by sexually harassing 11 women.
CNN said the “Cuomo Prime Time” host admitted he broke network rules when he advised his brother’s staff on how to handle the scandal. But documents released by James’ office on Monday showed a much deeper implication than previously known, the network said.
In a statement this weekend, Chris Cuomo said, “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 praised the ‘Cuomo Prime Time’ team, saying, âI owe them all and I will be missed by this special group of people who did such an important job. “
Katz said her client reported the complaint to CNN after “hearing the hypocrisy of Chris Cuomo’s comments and being disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women.”
She referred to a show in which the reporter spoke about the allegations against her brother, saying, âI have always been very attached to these issues and deeply. I just wanted to tell you.
The dismissal underscored how problematic Cuomo’s behavior and involvement in defending his brother had become for CNN, which is owned by AT&T but gearing up for a new owner. AT&T has agreed to sell its WarnerMedia branch, which owns CNN as well as the HBO network, to Discovery.
After being praised for his decisive action at the start of the coronavirus pandemic as governor of New York City, support for Andrew Cuomo has sharply waned as several women have come forward this year to accuse him of sexual assault.
Although Chris Cuomo did not cover the news on his show, he advised his brother’s top aides on handling the crisis and sought to find out what stories rival news outlets were working on.
Cuomo joined CNN in 2013 and has become one of its star anchors, taking the 9 p.m. prime-time slot on the network’s schedule during Donald Trump’s turbulent presidency.
Cuomo’s conflict of interest became more acute when his brother became a national celebrity during the pandemic as Democratic governor of New York City, holding daily press conferences on the virus.
CNN has been criticized for blurring ethical lines, especially after it aired interviews between the brothers in which the two exchanged sibling banter.
Once it was revealed that Chris Cuomo had advised the governor on how to handle the allegations of sexual harassment, other CNN reporters expressed their unease.
Jake Tapper told the New York Times in May: âI can’t imagine a world in which anyone in journalism thinks this was appropriate. “