Embattled CNN primetime host Chris Cuomo had become a pariah among his colleagues before he was suspended from the network over his involvement in brother Andrew’s defense from sexual misconduct claims, it has now emerged.
The cable news network on Tuesday evening announced said that Chris Cuomo, 51, was suspended indefinitely, with Anderson Cooper extending his hour-long show to two hours, to cover Chris’s 9pm slot.
The news came a day after the New York Attorney General’s Office released transcripts and exhibits, showing that the TV presented provided greater assistance to his older brother than initially acknowledged.
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Pariah: Chris Cuomo was said to have been left friendless at CNN prior to his suspension on Tuesday. During his show on Monday night he ignored the subject of his own communications with his brother Andrew about sexual misconduct claims
Chris (left) is seen with his older brother Andrew, who was governor of New York until he resigned following a sexual harassment scandal in August
Insiders have revealed that CNN CEO Jeff Zucker was pressured by angry anchors, including Jake Tapper (left), to take action against Chris (right)
The Daily Beast reported, citing an unnamed source, that CNN President and CEO was pressured to pull Chris off the air by his infuriated co-workers, among them Jake Tapper, the host of The Lead.
Tapper told the New York Times back in May that Cuomo’s actions had ‘put us in a bad spot.’
Another person familiar with the situation anonymously told the outlet that Chris had lost the support of CNN staff and fellow anchors.
‘I don’t know anyone who likes him,’ the unnamed source was quoted as saying of Chris.
CNN media correspondents Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy reported that network staff ‘expressed dismay’ about Chris’s conduct/
Transcripts of emails and Chris Cuomo’s testimony before state investigators revealed that he strategized regularly with the governor’s aides, and tried to help them learn what other journalists were reporting about harassment allegations.
Anderson Cooper on Tuesday night filled in for Cuomo, and read the statement from the network
Charlotte Bennett, a former aide to Andrew Cuomo who accused him of making inappropriate remarks to her, demanded that CNN fire his brother without waiting for the outcome of an internal review.
‘Yesterday, we learned just how far Chris Cuomo was willing to go to discredit, silence and smear women, like me, who came forward to report Governor Cuomo’s sexual misconduct,’ Bennett wrote in a statement that she tweeted out on Tuesday.
Bennett continued: ‘CNN must immediately take action. The network need not investigate his behavior – the investigation is over, and yesterday we received answers: 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. His behavior is reprehensible, unprofessional and inexcusable.’
‘CNN must act – now. Anything short of firing Chris Cuomo reflects a network lacking both morals and a backbone.’
New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation found that Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women. He resigned as governor in August to avoid a likely impeachment trial.
The last time he talked to his brother about the charges, Chris Cuomo said during his testimony, was to figure out what was going to happen and what he would tell their 90-year-old mother.
Cuomo has insisted he has done nothing to try and influence CNN’s coverage of his brother’s political problems, and that it would be quickly found out if he did.
Throughout his testimony, Chris frequently invoked family when asked to explain his frequent contact — often combative — with Andrew’s aides as they tried to figure out a way to save the governor’s job.
‘This is my brother, and I’m trying to help my brother through a situation where he has told me he did nothing wrong,’ Chris testified. ‘And that’s it for me. How do I help protect my family? How do I protect him? Probably should have been thinking more about how I protect myself, which just never occurred to me.’
At the request of his brother’s aides, Cuomo also used his contacts to find out what other journalists were going to report, most notably the New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow. Cuomo argued ‘the idea of one reporter calling another to find out what’s coming down the pipe is completely business as usual.’
Cuomo testified that he didn’t tell anyone at CNN that he was contacting other journalists to find out about the Farrow piece.
When it was first reported by The Washington Post last May that Cuomo had strategized with his brother’s aides, CNN said that it was inappropriate but did not discipline him.
‘When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly,’ a CNN spokesperson said on Tuesday. ‘But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second.’