Report: CNN's Zucker, Gollust Exploited Ties With Andrew Cuomo (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA via AP Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 03 February 2022 03:05 PM
Former CNN President Jeff Zucker and a senior executive, Allison Gollust, both made personal pleas to then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., to keep appearing on his brother's show, the New York Post reported.
Zucker announced his resignation Wednesday after revealing he had a personal relationship with Gollust.
The Post reported that Gollust personally called Cuomo and leaned on her "good relationship" with the governor to try to keep him on Chris Cuomo's show and boost ratings, sources said.
The newspaper said Gollust, who briefly worked as Cuomo's communications chief in 2012-13, also sought to capitalize on her ties with the governor's top aide, Melissa DeRosa.
Gollust reached out by going over the heads of Cuomo's communications staff workers, most of whom joined the governor's office after Gollust had left, according to the Post.
"Most of the comms staff at that time hadn't worked with Allison," a source told the Post. "She was only there for four months, and it was 150 years ago."
"The governor and her had a good relationship," a Post source added.
Zucker also directly reached out to Cuomo at least once to urge him to keep coming on his brother's show, according to a Post source.
"They wanted more appearances," the source said.
The Cuomos' segments in the spring of 2020 boosted CNN's ratings but attracted ethical scrutiny from pundits and media critics.
Criticism of the appearances made the now-disgraced governor's team consider booking fewer appearances, sources said.
CNN's own investigation into Chris Cuomo — who later was fired after it was discovered he aided his brother to deal with a sexual harassment investigation — revealed that Zucker and Gollust coached the governor on what to say during his infamous COVID-19 briefings.
Post sources said Zucker had an "open secret" affair with Gollust for more than a decade.
Zucker announced his resignation Wednesday.
"As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo's tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years," Zucker wrote in a memo to network colleagues.
"I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began, but I didn't. I was wrong. As a result, I am resigning today."