CNN suspends host Chris Cuomo over defense of ex-governor brother
Top CNN anchor Chris Cuomo has been suspended “indefinitely” from the network after new details emerged about his efforts to do damage control for his brother, ex-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, during a sexual harassment scandal.
CNN announced the move in a statement on Tuesday, saying that newly released documents from the New York Attorney General’s office raised “serious questions” about Cuomo’s conduct. The network claimed that while it was aware Cuomo had given his brother “advice” during the harassment controversy, it did not realize the extent of his involvement.
“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,” CNN said.
“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
Released on Monday by New York AG Letitia James, the trove of documents includes text messages and emails detailing Cuomo’s efforts to protect his brother, then the governor, from public scrutiny. In one message, the governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, asked the CNN pundit to consult his “sources” about a rumor that Politico was planning on publishing a story with additional allegations, to which Cuomo replied “On it.” Cuomo also offered to keep tabs on pending news reports concerning harassment allegations at other outlets. Governor Cuomo, who resigned in August amid the scandal, was accused of sexual misconduct by at least 12 women, with a State Assembly report issued last week claiming there was “overwhelming evidence that the former governor engaged in sexual harassment” while in office. Despite resigning, the ex-governor has denied the allegations, at one point claiming that “playful” behavior was “misinterpreted as unwanted flirtation.”
The allegations of sexual misconduct overshadowed another scandal over Cuomo’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ex-governor has been accused of covering up coronavirus deaths at nursing homes, and was blamed for indirectly causing some of them with a controversial order to release recovering Covid-19 patients into long-term care facilities early in the pandemic.