CNN formally fired TV host Chris Cuomo Saturday for leveraging contacts in the media business to help his brother, former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, navigate his sexual-harassment scandal.
The company wrote in a statement: “Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this week pending further evaluation of new information that came to light about his involvement with his brother’s defense. We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated him, effective immediately.”
“While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light,” the network noted. “Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate.”
On Monday, a new release of documents from New York attorney general Letitia James’s office revealed that Chris Cuomo was much more involved than he previously admitted in advising and shielding the embattled governor as he faced a state investigation into his sexual misconduct.
The latest document disclosure showed that the anchor leaned on his media connections to glean information about the female victims of his brother. In addition, exhibits from the probe and a transcript of his interview with state investigators showed that Chris Cuomo communicated often with Melissa DeRosa, his brother’s former top aide, regarding press coverage that could inflame the sexual harassment ordeal. DeRossa texted Cuomo asking for the publishing timeline for specific damaging articles, to which the host typically responded by saying that he would confirm with his media sources.
When Andrew Cuomo resigned from office, Chris Cuomo appeared on his show “Cuomo Prime Time” to assure viewers that he only offered the governor informal support, emphasizing that he “tried to be there for my brother.”
“I’m not an adviser. I’m a brother. I wasn’t in control of anything. I was there to listen and offer my take,” he said.
While Cuomo kept his job despite James concluding in her review of the case that the governor did engage in wrongdoing, internal discontent continued to mount at CNN over what many employees believed to be a violation of journalism ethics.
After the new revelations Monday, CNN issued a statement suggesting Cuomo would soon be on probation, saying that the materials “deserve a thorough review and consideration.”
“We will be having conversations and seeking additional clarity about their significance as they relate to CNN over the next several days,” the media company wrote in a statement.
On Tuesday, the network determined that Cuomo’s collaboration with his brother warranted a suspension from his position.
“These documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation,” CNN said.
Saturday’s announcement indicated a confirmation from the network that Cuomo’s removal would be permanent.