UPDATE: 5:15 p.m. ET Dec. 4: CNN announced Saturday that it fired Chris Cuomo, the host of what was formerly its top-rated show, "Cuomo Prime Time."
CNN said in a statement: "Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this week pending further evaluation of new information that came to light about his involvement with his brother's defense. We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated him, effective immediately. While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light. Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate."
A woman who accused former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment has demanded that CNN fire Chris Cuomo for his links to the ex-governor’s defense and trying to discredit his brother's accusers.
On Tuesday, CNN announced it had indefinitely suspended its opinion host Chris Cuomo after evidence surfaced that he was closely tied to his brother’s efforts to fend off allegations of sexual harassment.
Charlotte Bennett, a former aide to the ex-governor who accused him of sexual harassment, posted a statement to Twitter on Tuesday, saying, “CNN must take immediate action.”
“Just like his older brother, Chris Cuomo used his time, network and resources to help smear victims, dig up opposition research, and belittle our credible allegations,” Bennett added. “CNN must act – now. Anything short of firing Chris Cuomo reflects a network lacking both morals and a backbone. Does CNN stand by journalistic integrity, or will it simply excuse his actions because Chris Cuomo drives ratings?”
In its announcement, CNN stated that Chris Cuomo would be suspended indefinitely, “pending further evaluation” from the cable news channel’s leadership.
The suspension was tied to the multiple sexual harassment and abuse allegations leveled against the elder Cuomo compounded by his cover-up of over 15,000 nursing home deaths due to his decision to transfer COVID-19 positive patients to nursing homes. He resigned from his position as governor in August.
When the New York state attorney general released documents regarding the investigation into Andrew Cuomo, they indicated that Chris Cuomo was more involved in his brother’s defense than he previously said.
“When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother's staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly,” according to an unnamed CNN spokesperson. “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 further evaluation.”
In September, a longtime television news executive wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times that accused Chris Cuomo of having sexually harassed her at a party with her husband in 2005.
Shelley Ross of ABC News wrote that Chris Cuomo had lowered “one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock" while he hugged her.
Ross told Fox News that she considered Cuomo's suspension to not be enough, arguing that there must be “more to accountability than a suspension.”
“Chris Cuomo has always maintained he was not an adviser, he was a brother. He lied to CNN and his viewers,” Ross told Fox News.
“He needs to publicly acknowledge his wrongdoing to women, to victims of sexual harassment, assault and gender bias, to his colleagues, to the other journalists he compromised or tried to, and to the viewers he misled.”