CNN said Tuesday it was suspending anchor Chris Cuomo indefinitely after details emerged about how he allegedly helped his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as he faced charges of sexual harassment.
On Wednesday, Cuomo addressed the suspension on his SiriusXM show “Let’s Get After It with Chris Cuomo”.
“Quick note about the obvious. I’ve been suspended from CNN…. You know this already. It hurts to even say it,” he said at the top of the show. “It’s embarrassing, but I understand it. And I understand why some people feel the way they do about what I did. I’ve apologized in the past. I mean it. It’s the last thing I ever wanted to do was compromise any of my colleagues. And do anything but help.”
Talking about CNN’s decision, Cuomo added, “I know they have a process that they think is important. I respect that process. So I’m not going to talk about this anymore than that.”
In their statement announcing the suspension, CNN said the documents released by New York’s attorney general Monday indicated a greater level in his brother’s efforts than the network previously knew.
“The New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. “The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions. When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly. But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second. However, 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.”
“Cuomo Prime Time” is often CNN’s most-watched show of the day, airing at 9 p.m. ET on weeknights.
The CNN anchor had pressed sources for information on his brother’s accusers and reported back to the governor’s staff, and was active helping craft their response to the charges, according to emails and a transcript of his testimony to investigators working for New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Chris Cuomo had previously acknowledged talking to his brother and offering advice when the governor faced the harassment charges that led to his resignation. But the information released Nov. 29 revealed far more details about what he did.
Andrew Cuomo resigned in August to avoid a likely impeachment trial, after an investigation led by James found he sexually harassed at least 11 women.
The anchor did his show Monday night without mentioning the topic. In the past, he’s said he’s never reported on his brother’s situation for the network and never tried to influence coverage. On-air in August, he said: “I tried to do the right thing,” adding he “wasn’t in control of anything.”
Cuomo interviewed his brother on the air a number of times during the first two months of the COVID-19 epidemic. It was a hit with viewers, although it violated CNN’s policy of not having Cuomo report on his brother, and was a programming choice that has grown worse with time and additional revelations.
Monday’s releases show Chris Cuomo growing frustrated with his brother’s advisers as they scrambled to respond as more women came forward with harassment allegations.
The anchor pressed for greater involvement in crafting his brother’s message and offered up his journalistic sleuthing to find out what other allegations might be looming.
On March 4, Chris Cuomo texted the governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, saying “I have a lead on the wedding girl,” referring to a woman who accused his brother of unwanted touching at a wedding reception.
On March 7, as rumours swirled that more women were about to come forward, DeRosa texted Chris Cuomo: “Can u check your sources.” He replied, “On it.”
“When asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” Chris Cuomo said in the July deposition.