UPDATE, Dec. 4: CNN announced it has terminated Chris Cuomo “effective immediately” after “new information … came to light about his involvement with his brother’s defense,” the network said in a statement. CNN added that it has retained a law firm to conduct a review into Cuomo’s conduct and that investigation is ongoing.
Statement on Chris Cuomo’s termination from CNN. pic.twitter.com/yKPwYtMznD
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) December 4, 2021
UPDATE: Chris Cuomo has responded to his suspension from CNN, saying on his SiriusXM radio show that it “hurts” but that he “understands” it.
“It hurts to even say it,” the host said on Wednesday. “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, and I mean it.”
“It’s the last thing I ever wanted to do, was compromise any of my colleagues,” he 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 any more than that.”
Chris Cuomo: "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."
— Jeremy Barr (@jeremymbarr) December 1, 2021
UPDATE: CNN has suspended Chris Cuomo indefinitely, the network announced Tuesday evening.
New: CNN has suspended Chris Cuomo indefinitely. Here’s the full statement from the network. pic.twitter.com/G7aEYgsL6K
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) November 30, 2021
Michael Grynbaum of The New York Times reported after the news of the suspension broke that Anderson Cooper will host for two hours on Wednesday night, instead of his usual one, in order to fill the now-vacant 9 p.m. time slot.
Original story below.
Chris Cuomo hosts a primetime CNN show on which he discusses national political issues. He’s also the brother of Andrew Cuomo, the disgraced former governor of New York who resigned in August in the wake of a damning report detailing several allegations of sexual misconduct. It was a pretty big conflict of interest, especially considering Cuomo the younger was advising his brother on how to weather the scandal. Documents released on Monday by the New York attorney general’s office reveal that Chris was involved more intimately than previously believed.
In an interview with state investigators, Chris said he talked to other journalists about what they were hearing about allegations coming down the pike, and then fed information to Melissa DeRosa, Andrew’s top aide. “I have a lead on the wedding girl,” Chris texted DeRosa days after The New York Times reported that Andrew attempted to kiss a woman at a wedding. The “lead,” which turned out to be false, was that the girl, Anna Rauch, was lying about the encounter.
“Rumor going around from politico 1-2 more ppl coming out tomorrow. Can u check your sources?” DeRosa texted Chris the same month. “On it,” Chris responded. Chris worked his sources to gather “intel” on Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ronan Farrow’s then-forthcoming story on Andrew’s accusers, as well, at the request of DeRosa.
The documents released Monday also provide more details about how Cuomo offered his help with Andrew’s crisis management effort. It read less like an offer and more like a demand, as Chris expressed concern over how the governor’s team was handling the situation and implored DeRosa to let him help with the prep and “trust” his advice. “We’re making mistakes we can’t afford,” Cuomo wrote to DeRosa.
He was also working with DeRosa to fine-tune the governor’s statements responding to the wave of accusations. In one instance, Chris provided a complete written statement to DeRosa. “I will not resign, I cannot resign,” the texted statement reads, in part.
The news that Chris Cuomo was feeding DeRosa information ascertained through his media connections adds more color to a picture of his involvement in his brother’s damage control efforts that has been developing throughout the year.
The Washington Post reported in May that Chris was participating in conference calls about how his brother should deal with the scandal, and suggested pinning the outrage on cancel culture — which Andrew did indeed do during a conference call in March. The documents released Monday include text messages in which Cuomo informs DeRosa that one of his friends had Alec Baldwin go on an anti-cancel culture rant defending Andrew Cuomo … and Woody Allen. (Cuomo in his interview with investigators said he tried to get his friend to tell Baldwin to “stay out of it,” to no avail.)
CNN acknowledged in May that Cuomo advising his brother’s efforts to weather the scandal was inappropriate, but excused it in part by noting that he had “not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes.” Chris apologized on the air. “It will not happen again,” he said. “It was a mistake because I put my colleagues here, who I believe are the best in the business, in a bad spot.”
State prosecutors revealed months later that Chris had been CC’d on emails among Andrew’s team, as well as several other details of his involvement as the allegations of sexual misconduct threatened to bring down the political scion at the helm of one of the nation’s most populous states.
CNN and Cuomo may have acknowledged that participating in meetings with his brother’s team was inappropriate, but using connections developed through his job as a political commentator to aid one of the nation’s most powerful politicians as he tries to navigate a sexual misconduct scandal represents another level of unethical behavior. It’s the type of below-board, conflict-of-interest dealing that would likely get anyone not named “Cuomo” fired, and which at the very least exacerbates to the public’s waning trust in ostensibly unbiased networks like CNN.
CNN in a statement provided to Rolling Stone said it will look into the documents. “The thousands of pages of additional transcripts and exhibits that were released today by the NY Attorney General deserve a thorough review and consideration,” a spokesperson wrote. “We will be having conversations and seeking additional clarity about their significance as they relate to CNN over the next several days.”
Cuomo did not address the news on Monday night’s episode of Cuomo Prime Time.