By Antonio Planas and Dennis Romero
CNN on Saturday terminated
host Chris Cuomo after an investigation by the New York attorney general
showed in more detail how he helped his brother, the former governor, defend
himself against sexual misconduct allegations.
CNN’s public relations Twitter
account announced his termination Saturday.
“We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and
have terminated him, effective immediately,” the network said.
In a written statement, Cuomo said Saturday he was
disappointed by the decision but proud of the work done by his show's team.
"This is not how I want my time at CNN to end but I
have already told you why and how I helped my brother," he said. "So
let me now say as disappointing as this is, I could not be more proud of the
team at Cuomo Prime Time and the work we did as CNN’s #1 show in the most
competitive time slot. I owe them all and will miss that group of special people
who did really important work."
Jeff Zucker, chairman of CNN parent entity WarnerMedia News,
said in a statement that he delivered the news to Cuomo on Saturday after the
network determined he had “involvement in his brother’s defense.”
“It goes without saying that these decisions are not easy,
and there are a lot of complex factors involved," Zucker said.
The investigation by Attorney General Letitia James raised
“serious questions” about Cuomo’s conduct, the network said in a statement
“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 Tuesday
statement said. “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
Andrew Cuomo, who was facing the possibility of impeachment,
resigned in August. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Chris Cuomo said Wednesday that he never meant to compromise
colleagues by advising his brother and that his suspension from the network was
He addressed his indefinite suspension on his SiriusXM show,
“Let’s Get After It with Chris Cuomo.”
“Hey everybody. It’s Chris Cuomo. Let’s get after it,” he
said to start the program. “Quick note about the obvious. I’ve been suspended
from CNN. ... You know this already. It hurts to even say it. 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. I mean it. It’s the
last thing I ever wanted to do was compromise any of my colleagues. And do
anything but help.
“I know they have a process that they think is important. I
respect that process,” he added. “So I’m not going to talk about this any more
than that. So for right now, let’s just get after it, and there’s plenty to do
on that score.”
The younger Cuomo, who has hosted “Cuomo Prime Time”
since 2017, has previously said that advising his brother was a family matter
and that it was appropriate because he was not directly reporting on Albany at
Documents released Monday revealed that Cuomo offered to
help the former governor
find out how many women were accusing him of sexual harassment.
from the attorney general probe said investigator Jennifer Kennedy Park
asked Chris Cuomo whether he offered to help his brother “find there might be
any other complaints.”
“I would — when asked, I would reach out to sources, other
journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” Cuomo said,
according to the documents.
He also admitted to helping his brother respond to
allegations from Ann Ruch, who said she felt “uncomfortable and
embarrassed” when Andrew Cuomo kissed her at a wedding in 2019.
Transcripts of Chris Cuomo’s interview with investigators
also showed that he sent a text message to the governor’s top aide, Melissa
DeRosa, reading, “I have a lead on the wedding girl.”
A spokesperson for the cable news network told NBC News in
May, Chris Cuomo had not been involved in the network’s extensive coverage of
the allegations against his brother — “on air or behind the scenes.”
That was because, as Cuomo had acknowledged on his show, “He
could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board
for his brother.”
Chris Cuomo would also not be participating in future calls,
the CNN spokesperson said. He had also acknowledged it was “inappropriate
to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s
Cuomo told investigators that advice he gave his brother was
based on telling the truth.
“I am worried about my brother and worried that this is
being handled the best way it can,” he said of their discussions. “And my
feeling was that, to my basic mantra, you need to tell the truth and get in
front of these if you have something to say. And if you have something to own,
you need to do that as well.”
Andrew Cuomo announced his
resignation as governor on Aug. 10, saying: “I never would intentionally
disrespect a woman, treat any woman differently than I would want them treated,
and that is the God’s honest truth.”