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Chris Cuomo crisis: CNN has suspended him ‘indefinitely’

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo helped his beleaguered brother, New York’s then-governor Andrew Cuomo, more than originally thought. Now he’s off the air.

Chris Cuomo crisis: CNN has suspended him ‘indefinitely’
Chris Cuomo. [Source Images: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage]

Updated 12/1

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CNN has suspended anchor Chris Cuomo “indefinitely,” following the release of reports from the New York attorney general’s office that indicated he helped his beleaguered brother, New York’s then-governor Andrew Cuomo, more than originally thought.

They show that he’d strategized for his older sibling, who’s facing sexual misconduct allegations related to his time as governor, and used his connections in the journalism world to get information that would assist in formulating plans to battle the accusations. The senior Cuomo resigned from office in August.

Among Chris Cuomo’s actions was communicating with his older brother’s aide Melissa DeRosa and reaching out to New Yorker writer Ronan Farrow for details about what was in an upcoming story.

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“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 told the network yesterday. “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,” the CNN spokesperson continued, “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.”

The announcement came after CNN faced intense criticism for not taking the issue seriously enough months ago. Back in May, the Washington Post first reported that Chris Cuomo had been advising his older brother, actions the cable news network at the time called “inappropriate.” CNN didn’t discipline him; he stopped helping his sibling.

Then, on Monday night, shortly after news broke of Chris’ deeper involvement in his brother’s mess, CNN aired Cuomo Prime Time as usual, and no one mentioned the issue during the broadcast. Many people criticized this omission, including Northeastern University journalism professor Dan Kennedy, who tweeted, “Well, now. Not only is Chris Cuomo on tonight, but he’s talking about Omicron as if there was nothing else for him to address,” and later added that there was no mention of the brother news at the close of Cuomo Prime Time either.

Since the Washington Post story broke last May, Chris Cuomo has himself been accused of sexual harassment. His former boss at ABC News, Shelley Ross, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times two months ago about how he’d grabbed her behind at a work party in 2005.

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Her essay includes his response to the resurfaced story: “As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature. It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it.”

Ross ends her essay with a call for accountability: “I’m not asking for Mr. Cuomo to become the next casualty in this continuing terrible story. I hope he stays at CNN forever if he chooses. I would, however, like to see him journalistically repent: agree on air to study the impact of sexism, harassment and gender bias in the workplace, including his own, and then report on it.”

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