CNN fires anchor Chris Cuomo

Revelations of his interventions regarding his brother Andrew Cuomo forced news network’s hand

CNN fired its highest-rated prime-time anchor Chris Cuomo on Saturday, just a few days after revelations regarding how much he interceded on behalf of his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo regarding sexual misconduct allegations.

CNN released this 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.”

The network, which has major operations in Atlanta but bases most of its management and anchors including Cuomo out of New York City, did not say what that “new information” is.

The New York Times late Saturday night reported this: “Debra S. Katz, a prominent employment lawyer, informed CNN of a client with an allegation of sexual misconduct against Chris Cuomo. Ms. Katz said in a statement on Saturday that the allegation against the anchor, which was made by a former junior colleague at another network, was ‘unrelated to the Gov. Andrew Cuomo matter.’” An attorney for Cuomo denied the allegation but it clearly didn’t help Cuomo’s situation.

CNN also told The Wall Street Journal Sunday: “He 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.”

While Cuomo earlier this year acknowledged helping his brother, documents released last week by New York Attorney General Letitia James revealed he was even more involved than he had said publicly or to CNN management.

Chris Cuomo, the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, joined CNN in 2013 and has been a prime-time host on CNN since 2018.

CNN President Jeff Zucker, who has been supportive of Cuomo in the past, sent out a memo to employees Saturday, noting, in part: ”Today, I let Chris Cuomo know that we are ending his employment at CNN. It goes without saying that these decisions are not easy, and there are a lot of complex factors involved. But as always it was important to me to be upfront with each of you.”

Wednesday, the day after CNN initially suspended Cuomo and took him off the air, Cuomo told listeners on his SiriusXM show the news and said “it hurts to even say it. It’s embarrassing, but I understand it. And I understand why some people feel the way they do,”

“I know they have a process that they think is important,” he added. “I respect that process. So, I’m not going to talk about this anymore than that.”

Cuomo helped his brother Andrew draft statements to read and actively weighed in on strategy debates. He also sought to use his media connections to learn more about how other media was going to cover the case.

In August, he told CNN viewers that he never reported on the scandal or tried to influence CNN’s coverage but he was simply trying “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 at the time.

Next week, Cuomo’s 9 p.m. slot will be filled by weekend host Michael Smerconish.

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