Chris Cuomo Faced Sexual Misconduct Accusation Before CNN Fired Him

Irina Baranova

“That’s what the brothers Cuomo are giving us right now,” Mr. Zucker told The Times in April 2020.

The next year, as Andrew Cuomo was facing an increasing number of sexual harassment accusations, Chris Cuomo recused himself from reporting on the scandal, leaving a prime-time hole in CNN’s coverage of what was turning out to be a national news story.

At the same time, away from the anchor desk, Chris Cuomo was participating in strategy sessions with the governor’s top aides. It also emerged that Andrew Cuomo had arranged for his brother’s Covid tests to receive priority treatment by the state. CNN did not discipline Chris Cuomo, and at one point offered the anchor a leave of absence if he wished to more formally help his brother.

After Andrew Cuomo resigned, Chris Cuomo defended himself on the Aug. 16 episode of his program. “I’m not an adviser, I’m a brother,” the anchor said. “I never attacked nor encouraged anyone to attack any woman who came forward. I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation.”

But the new batch of testimony and text messages suggested that Mr. Cuomo did function as an adviser and did reach out to journalists. “When asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” he told investigators.

In September, another former colleague, Shelley Ross, who had worked with Mr. Cuomo at ABC News, described an instance when the anchor touched her inappropriately at a gathering in 2005. In an essay published in the opinion section of The Times, Ms. Ross wrote that Mr. Cuomo “greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock.”

In a response published by The Times as part of the essay, Mr. Cuomo said: “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.”

Ms. Ross had been Mr. Cuomo’s boss at ABC News before the incident she described; at the gathering, she wrote, Mr. Cuomo told her, “I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss.” She wrote that she was inspired to publish the essay partly because Mr. Cuomo had “escaped accountability” for advising his brother while working as a CNN news anchor, and also because of the statements he had made on March 1, in which he spoke of caring “very deeply” about the issue of sexual harassment.

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