CNN host Chris Cuomo was accused of sexual harassment by a former colleague last week, days before he was fired over his role in advising and shielding his brother from a related scandal during his administration.
After the anchor was fired from the network Saturday for leveraging media connections to help his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, navigate a state investigation into his sexual misconduct, a separate allegation against Chris Cuomo came to light.
Chris Cuomo’s accuser, who is anonymous, brought the claim to CNN on Wednesday via her attorney, Debra Katz.
Katz’ client said in a statement that she felt she had to go public after watching the anchor condemn sexual harassment on-air while helping his brother cover up his own actions behind the scenes. The woman said Chris Cuomo “played an active role in attempting to smear women” who accused the governor.
“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 to CNN,” the lawyer told CNN.
The accuser worked with Cuomo during his time at ABC News, the New York Post reported. Cuomo worked at ABC as an anchor until 2013. Katz’s client is not the first woman to accuse Chris Cuomo. In September, his former boss at ABC, journalist Shelley Ross, shared in a New York Times op-ed that the anchor grabbed her buttocks in the presence of her husband at a party in 2005.
A spokesman for the now dismissed talking head immediately rebuked the charges, adding that they were the impetus for Cuomo’s firing. “If the goal in making these false and unvetted accusations was to see Mr. Cuomo punished by CNN, that may explain his unwarranted termination,” the spokesman said.
Katz, the lawyer, also suggested that Cuomo’s termination was a result of the new allegations, writing in a statement that “CNN acted promptly on my client’s complaint and fired Mr. Cuomo.”
While the host admitted previously that he informally supported his brother as he faced a sexual harassment probe, documents released Tuesday revealed that Chris Cuomo’s involvement into the governor’s case was more intimate than known and potentially violated journalistic ethics. He was subsequently put on job probation pending the network’s review of the documents from the New York attorney general’s office.
After consulting a law firm and the materials, CNN fired Cuomo permanently. The new documents showed that Chris Cuomo leaned on media contacts to glean information about his brother’s female accusers as well as the publishing timeline for press coverage that could inflame the scandal.
In an email from last March released last week, Cuomo told Melissa DeRosa, a former aide to his brother, he had “a lead on the wedding girl,” referring to a woman who said the governor inappropriately touched her at a wedding.