CNN has fired star host Chris Cuomo “with immediate effect,” days after the New York attorney general detailed how the journalist helped protect his brother, the former New York governor. York Andrew Cuomo, fighting sexual harassment allegations.
On Saturday, CNN said: “We hired a reputable law firm to conduct our review and have terminated [Chris Cuomo], effective immediately. ”
“During that review, additional information has come to light,” the television network said, adding: “Despite the termination of the contract, we will continue to investigate as appropriate.”
CNN says the “Cuomo Prime Time” host has admitted that he broke the network’s rules by giving advice to his brother’s employees on how to deal with the scandal. But documents released by James’s office on Monday show a much deeper involvement than previously known, the network said.
In a statement, Chris Cuomo said: “This is not how I wanted my time at CNN to end, but I have told you why and how I helped my brother.”
He commended the team for their work on “Cuomo Prime Time.” “I owe it all to them and will miss this special group of people who did really important work,” he added.
The firing underscores how problematic Cuomo’s involvement in protecting his brother is for CNN, which is owned by AT&T but is preparing for a new owner. AT&T has agreed to sell WarnerMedia, which owns CNN as well as the HBO network, to Discovery.
After being praised for his decisive action in the early days of the pandemic, support for Andrew Cuomo has dropped rapidly. He was forced to resign as governor of New York earlier this year after several women accused him of sexual assault.
While Chris Cuomo did not cover his program, he did advise his brother’s senior aides on how to navigate the crisis and find out what rival news outlets are working with.
Cuomo joined CNN in 2013 and rose to become one of its stars, taking the top spot at 9 p.m. on the network’s schedule during the tumultuous Trump era. Cuomo’s conflicts of interest became more acute when his brother became a national star during the pandemic as the Democratic Governor of New York, holding daily coronavirus news conferences.
CNN was criticized for blurring moral lines at the time, especially after airing interviews between the two brothers in which the two exchanged sibling jokes.
After it was revealed that Chris Cuomo had advised the governor on how to handle sexual harassment allegations, other CNN journalists expressed their displeasure with the situation.
In May, Jake Tapper told the New York Times: “I can’t imagine a world where anyone in journalism thinks that’s appropriate.”
The scandal comes as David Zaslav, Discovery’s chief executive officer, prepares to run the combined Warner-Discovery company after the deal closes.
Zaslav visited CNN’s headquarters on Tuesday for a pre-scheduled meeting with top executives, according to people familiar with the matter.
Hours later, CNN announced that Cuomo was suspended indefinitely.