Chris Cuomo has been suspended from his anchoring position at CNN, after an investigation into his involvement in assisting his brother Andrew Cuomo, as the former governor faced sexual harassment allegations.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, 50, has been suspended “indefinitely” from the news network on Tuesday, Nov. 30, following an investigation into his involvement with his brother former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s response to sexual harassment allegations. CNN released a statement that said transcripts released by the New York Attorney General’s office has raised “serious questions” about his involvement.
“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. “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.”
The spokesperson continued, “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.”
Chris’ suspension comes after the New York State Attorney General Letitia James released evidence that showed the Cuomo had used his position as a media personality to get information and warn his brother about sexual harassment allegations coming out against him, via The Guardian. In light of the new evidence, CNN announced that it would perform a “thorough review” of the evidence.
The investigation began over two months after the anchor was accused of sexually harassing his old executive producer Shelley Ross while he was at ABC. Ross brought the allegations to light with an op-ed in The New York Times on Friday September 24. The former executive producer called on the anchor to “repent” and do a series examining workplace harassment, rather than lose his job.
The anchor’s suspension comes three months after his brother‘s resigned from his post as New York’s governor amid sexual harassment allegations. Chris wasn’t on the air when the governor announced his plans to step down, as he was on vacation according to The New York Times. CNN had stopped Chris from being an official aide to his brother and helping with strategy, but he was still allowed to discuss the allegations with his brother. Two sources close to the situation told The Times that Chris was the one who advised his brother to step down.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he would “step aside” in an August 10 press conference. He said he felt that the decision was the best for all New Yorkers. “Doing the right thing is doing the right thing for you, because as we say, ‘it’s not about me; it’s about we.’ Kathy Hochul, my lieutenant governor, is smart and competent. This transition must be seamless. We have a lot going on,” he said in part during his remarks.
New York Attorney General Letitia James revealed the findings of an independent inquiry into accusations against the governor of sexual harassment. She revealed that the investigation found that the governor had sexually harassed women. She made the announcement during a press conference with investigators, former federal prosecutor Joon Kim and employment lawyer Anne Clark. The findings were detailed in an extensive 168-page report. “The investigation found that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed current and former New York state employees by engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women,” James said in part during her remarks.
The CNN broadcaster faced scrutiny when he was included among a list of advisors that the governor had gathered to discuss “how to respond to the allegations publicly,” according to the report. The report cited times that Chris had been an advisor to Andrew. It noted that internal documents and communications advised the governor “to express contrition after the press published Ms. Bennett’s allegations.” The report also mentioned that anchor spoke about “remedial measures the Chamber should take in light of the sexual harassment,” but other advisors suggested waiting.
In addition to the mentions in the report, one exhibit of evidence appeared to consist of an email that Chris Cuomo had sent his brother to assist in drafting a statement regarding the allegations. The message was sent by Chris on February 28, 2021 and had the subject line “Re: statement final.” The statement mentioned Charlotte Bennett‘s accusations and included an apology, if his interactions were seen as “insensitive” or “too personal.”
After the findings of the investigation came to light, the New York governor released his own statement denying the allegations and apologizing if any of his actions had been misinterpreted. “I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone from me or made inappropriate sexual advances,” Andrew Cuomo said at the time.