Chris Cuomo: CNN's Zucker Knew About My Efforts to Help My Brother Chairman, WarnerMedia Jeff Zucker attends CNN Heroes at the American Museum of Natural History on Dec. 8, 2019, in New York City. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)
By Brian Freeman | Monday, 06 December 2021 12:03 PM
Fired CNN anchor Chris Cuomo has accused CNN President Jeff Zucker of knowing all about his involvement in trying to helped his brother, Andrew Cuomo, respond to the former New York governor’s sexual harassment scandal, The Wall Street Journal has reported.
In a new statement, a spokesman for Chris Cuomo said that the anchor and Zucker "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."
CNN responded to the accusations by issuing a statement that Chris Cuomo "has made a number of accusations that are patently false. This reinforces why he was terminated for violating our standards and practices, as well as his lack of candor."
Zucker had publicly defended Cuomo for months when the scandal first broke about his efforts to help his brother, even after he continued to make headlines and create headaches for Zucker, according to the Journal.
Zucker has been one of Cuomo’s biggest champions at CNN, recruiting him from ABC News to co-anchor a morning news show as one of his first steps when he arrived at CNN in 2013.
Zucker then promoted Cuomo to prime time in 2018, giving him the prestigious 9 p.m. hour and even calling him "the perfect cable news anchor."
Zucker’s public support of Cuomo began to wane late last month when the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, which had released a report in August that confirmed Cuomo had aided his brother’s response to his scandal, provided greater detail.
This included that Chris Cuomo texted one of his brother’s former advisers to inform her that he had "a lead on the wedding girl" soon after The New York Times published a story that quoted a woman who said the governor touched her inappropriately at a wedding.
The additional information also contained investigators’ interview of Chris Cuomo in which the anchor said he got in touch with other journalists to check if stories about his brother’s conduct were in the works.
CNN suspended Cuomo on Tuesday, the day after the documents became public, and hired a law firm to look into the matter.
On Friday, the law firm informed CNN that it had cause to fire Cuomo after discovering that he had violated the network’s standards and practices, according to the Journal.
In addition to this, Zucker had also become aware of an allegation of sexual misconduct by Cuomo from one of his former colleagues at ABC News.