Female colleagues of CNN anchor Chris Cuomo are staying silent about his refusal to address the sexual harassment scandal surrounding his brother – despite many of them being vocal supporters of the #MeToo movement.
Chris, 50, was referenced in Tuesday’s bombshell report by the New York attorney general, which found 11 women to have credible allegations of sexual assault against his brother Andrew, 63, the governor of New York.
Chris had been advising Andrew on media strategy when the allegations were first made in March. In May his behind-the-scenes role was exposed by The Washington Post, and Chris apologized to his viewers and colleagues.
Yet for three nights since the report into Andrew was published, Chris has ignored it entirely – despite his network covering it extensively.
Chris’s decision to dismiss the scandal left some colleagues confused, The New York Times reported.
Chris Cuomo was seen on Thursday waiting to board his helicopter from East Hampton to New York City, to host his CNN show. Once again, on Thursday night, he failed to mention the scandal engulfing his brother
Chris was seen alone in the waiting room before boarding the flight back to Manhattan
Chris Cuomo on Thursday shook the hand of the photographer before boarding his flight
Chris Cuomo is seen leaving the Blade Heliport in Manhattan on Thursday afternoon. Three vehicles blocked the area, allowing the $5 million-a-year host to be whisked away
The New York governor (left) is pictured with his journalist brother Chris (right) in May 2015
CNN is the only one of the big three cable news networks not to have a female prime-time host, but their regular lineup features anchors and reporters including Erin Burnett, Alisyn Camerota, Brianna Keilar, Kate Bolduan, Dana Bash, Pamela Brown, and Ana Cabrera.
They have covered the Andrew Cuomo scandal extensively, and tweeted about the governor, but always without mentioning Chris.
None of CNN’s female anchors have condemned their colleague on air for helping the governor navigate sexual harassment claims, according to a search of Grabien Media carried out by Fox News.
CNN did not immediately respond when asked if female staffers were told not to publicly speak out against Chris Cuomo.
One female CNN host told Fox News she was not instructed how to cover the story by management.
CNN’s Christine Romans and Kate Bolduan (left) and Brianna Keilar (right) have all ignored the role played by Chris Cuomo in the scandal of the New York governor
Erin Burnett, who anchors CNN’s 7pm ET show, retweeted condemnation of Andrew Cuomo – but has not discussed Chris’s role or his refusal to address Andrew’s drama
Erin Burnett retweeted this tweet by The New York Times reporter Michael Grynbaum
Pamela Brown (left) and Dana Bash have both been outspoken about womens’ rights, but have not discussed Chris Cuomo’s failure to cover the story of his brother
Tarana Burke, the survivor and advocate who gave the #MeToo movement its name, has criticized Andrew Cuomo’s response to the scandal, but did not mention Chris’s failure to discuss it.
Burke wrote in an email to The Associated Press that ‘abusers, no matter their own personal histories, do not get to center themselves in cases of abuse.’
‘In these moments, survivor’s stories are the ones that should be elevated,’ Burke said.
‘There are 11 women, whose stories were corroborated, who experienced harassment at the hands of the governor.
‘His family’s story does not exonerate him, and he does not get to use someone else’s trauma as his own shield.’
Chris was pictured on Thursday afternoon at East Hampton airport, waiting to board a helicopter and make the 40 minute journey into Manhattan for his show.
He was pictured in the same lounge on Wednesday, waiting for a Blade helicopter into New York City.
A seat on a six-person helicopter costs $800 one-way. Chris, who earns $5 million a year at CNN, appeared to have chartered the helicopter, which would cost several thousand dollars.
The Executive Mansion in Albany, where Andrew Cuomo lives, is pictured on Thursday
Andrew Cuomo has been holed up in the house since the report was published on Tuesday
On Thursday, Poynter Institute senior media writer Tom Jones said that Chris’s ignoring the report ‘felt awkward’ – despite his March vow that he would not cover the harassment allegations against the governor ‘because he is my brother.’
‘I won’t go as far as to call for someone’s job, but CNN is in a bad spot here,’ Jones wrote.
‘Other politicians and public figures will be accused of sexual harassment in the future. How will Chris handle that on his show?’
Jones concluded by writing: ‘Chris Cuomo is forever going to have a credibility problem among some viewers. The only thing that could fix that is something that doesn’t exist: a time machine.’
Chris had his brother on his show frequently for friendly, light-hearted interviews last year at the height of the pandemic, when hundreds of people were dying every day.
Glory days: Chris Cuomo quarantining in his Hamptons basement last year with Cuomo, speaking with his brother on his show, when Andrew was a pandemic hero
The two regularly joked around on Chris’s show at a time when hundreds were dying of COVID. Chris played with a giant swab on one show.
Earlier this year, Chris was reportedly offered a ‘leave of absence’ to formally advise his brother through his sex-pest scandal.
Executives with the network informally proposed the idea that the younger Cuomo could take a break to advise his brother and return to the network later, sources told The New York Times.
The possible leave of absence was suggested in May when the Washington Post revealed Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s scandal.
In response to the proposal, Chris Cuomo told network executives he wanted to continue on his primetime program while obeying rules preventing him from commenting on the scandal, sources told The New York Times.
He publicly said at the time that when his brother’s situation ‘became turbulent’ he started getting ‘looped into calls with other friends of his and advisers that did include some of his staff.’
Cuomo told his viewers: ‘I understand why that was a problem for CNN. It will not happen again.
‘It was a mistake because I put my colleagues here, who I believe are the best in the business, in a bad spot. I never intended for that. I would never intend for that and I am sorry for that.’
Chris Cuomo on Tuesday night was discussing COVID – and studiously ignoring the major news scrolling constantly beneath his screen. He didn’t mention the AG report – which he is named in – once. He failed to discuss the news on Wednesday, or Thursday
These text messages between Cuomo’s senior aides in February this year show how Chris Cuomo helped his brother draft statements to make sure they had ‘enough contrition’ when the allegations emerged. He was ignoring the subject on his own CNN show at the time
Chris Cuomo added that has never tried to influence CNN’s coverage of his brother and has in fact ‘been walled off from it.’
A CNN spokesman admitted at the time that Chris Cuomo’s behavior was ‘inappropriate’.
The network added that he would not face punishment – but allowed unnamed staff members to stick the knife into him in its own report on the gaffe.
Chris’s ability to get away without covering the story was taken as a sign that he had the support of the network’s president, Jeff Zucker.
‘I think that Jeff has made it clear that he has Chris’s back no matter what,’ one current network employee told Buzzfeed News on Tuesday.
Another current staffer put the situation more bluntly: ‘The fact that Chris Cuomo wasn’t fired over his inappropriate conflict of interest in actively affecting a news story is not only irresponsible of CNN, but also a disgrace to journalism.’