Correspondent in New York
The CNN news network announced this Saturday to its star presenter, Chris Cuomo, that he was fired, in one of the tail blows of the Sexual harassment allegations scandal against Andrew Cuomo, brother of the journalist and former governor of New York.
Chris Cuomo’s debacle began last Tuesday, when CNN told him that he was going into suspension, after the New York prosecutor’s office, which is investigating the accusations against his brother, revealed a greater implication than was believed in the campaign of defense and advice of the ex-governor.
Andrew Cuomo resigned last August, after the allegations of women who accused him of harassment, touching or inappropriate approaches accumulated. The accusations surfaced earlier this year, after the former governor became a national political figure in the United States.
for his management of the Covid pandemic in what was its global epicenter.
The presenter became involved in the team that advised his brother on how to deal with these accusations, manage internal investigations and campaign in the media about his innocence. This implication was known in May and left the presenter and CNN in a very bad place, with obvious conflicts of interest. At the same time that he was the presenter with the most audience on CNN and owner of the 9 pm newscast, in full prime time, he collaborated in his brother’s defense campaign.
The relationship between the journalist brother and the brother-in-law was always questioned. When Cuomo landed his first show as a CNN host in 2013 with the matinee ‘New Day’, he interviewed his brother twice in a single year. The relationship went further in the pandemic, in which there were intimate interviews from the journalist Cuomo to the Governor Cuomo, which questioned the ability of the former to be impartial with the work of the latter (later it was learned that the Democratic politician hid data on death by Covid and used public resources to write a memoir on leadership during the pandemic).
With the advent of accusations of sexual harassment, Chris Cuomo decided to refuse to report on his brother, so as not to fuel the allegations of conflict of interest. Later it was learned that CNN offered him a temporary leave to participate in those efforts, but Cuomo preferred to combine it with his daily program. When this implication was known, the top boss of CNN, Jeff Zucker, who signed him for the chain and his great support, assured that the “unique circumstances” in which the presenter found himself had to be understood.
At that moment, Cuomo acknowledged that it had been a “mistake” to advise the brother while he continued with his daily program, but he said that for him “family comes first, work second” and that he knew how to “respect” the lines that should not be crossed while “supporting my family, something I must do”.
To the surprise of many – including fellow CNN members such as Jake Tapper, who considered what Cuomo did “inappropriate” – the host survived the revelations and remained at his post.
But it has not managed to stay afloat with the documents and testimonies obtained during the investigation of the attorney general’s office – which is headed by Letitia James, who will be a candidate for governor of New York next year – known this week. They show how Cuomo volunteered to help with whatever was necessary, contacted colleagues in the profession to find out the status of journalistic investigations of ‘New Yorker’ or ‘Politico’ and sought harmful information about any of the accusers. His participation in the former governor’s campaign was much more active than previously believed.
“This is not the way I would like to end my time at CNN,” Cuomo said in a statement, “but I have already told you why and how I helped my brother.” For now, his program has been absorbed by the presenter of the previous hour, Anderson Cooper, who this week has conducted a two-hour newscast.