CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on Tuesday night failed to cover the biggest story of the day – the damning New York attorney general’s report accusing his brother of sexually harassing 11 women.
Yet his journalist brother, 50, did not acknowledge the story – instead focusing on COVID-19 and the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
As the accusations against his brother were flowing this spring, Chris said he could not discuss the story on air. It later emerged that Chris was advising his brother on media strategy – angering many of his colleagues within the network.
‘Obviously I am aware of what is going on with my brother,’ he said on March 1.
‘And obviously I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now, of course CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and they will continue to do so.’
He then moved on, having thanked his audience ‘for being straight with me, and I’ve always been straight with you’. He said he ‘always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so.’
On Tuesday night, he failed to address it entirely – even as his previous anchors devoted much of their shows to the scandal.
Chris Cuomo on Tuesday night was discussing COVID – and studiously ignoring the major news scrolling constantly beneath his screen (circled)
The 50-year-old CNN anchor ignored the report into his 63-year-old politician brother
>> @ChrisCuomo at the top of @CuomoPrimeTime tonight: “Obviously I am aware of what is going on with my brother. And obviously I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now, of course CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and they will continue to do so.” pic.twitter.com/G49mZYTG4D
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 2, 2021
Chris Cuomo was part of an ‘inner circle’ of advisers brought in to do damage control in the wake of the sexual harassment allegations against his brother, according to a bombshell report into Andrew Cuomo’s misconduct
Don Lemon, who came on immediately after, at 10pm ET, was damning in his criticism of the governor and spent a large chunk of his opening discussing the dramatic day.
The 168-page report, overseen by Letitia James, the New York attorney general, found the allegations by the 11 women to be credible. Her team spent five months interviewing 175 people.
They reported that Chris Cuomo was part of an ‘inner circle’ of advisers brought in to do damage control in the wake of the sexual harassment allegations this spring.
Chris was one of a dozen other confidantes called in to help ‘control and direct the response’ to the claims, despite none being employed by the State of New York.
The investigation found Chris and other advisers counseled Andrew to ‘express contrition’ after the allegations from Charlotte Bennett, the second accuser to come forward, emerged in February.
The governor ultimately took his brother’s advice and issued a press release on February 27 saying he did not ‘intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.’
The document confirms previous reports about Chris’s involvement in the scandal for which he was forced to apologize.
The investigation found Chris and other advisers counseled Governor Andrew Cuomo to ‘express contrition’ after the allegations from Charlotte Bennett (pictured) the second accuser to come forward, emerged in February
The investigation, which took five months to complete, concluded that Cuomo engaged in a ‘disturbing’ pattern of conduct and created a ‘toxic’ workplace environment.
According to the report, investigators also found it ‘revealing and consistent with the Executive Chamber’s overall approach’ that Cuomo’s inner circle of advisers ‘included a number of individuals with no official role in the Executive Chamber.’
Among those involved were PR consultant Jefrey Pollock, who was hired by Cuomo for public relations work, Democrat PR strategist Lis Smith, former staffer Steve Cohen, and Linda Lacewell, who was known as Cuomo’s ‘enforcer.’
‘Some had never served in the Executive Chamber, and others, like Mr. Cohen, had not served there in a decade. None of them was officially retained in any capacity by the Executive Chamber or any of the individuals involved,’ the report states.
‘Nonetheless, they were regularly provided with confidential and often privileged information about state operations and helped make decisions that impacted State business and employees – all without any formal role, duty, or obligation to the State.’
Chris was also brought in even though his only credentials appear to be being related to Cuomo and working in the media.
Cuomo, who has always denied the allegations, gave a televised address an hour after James’s report was released during which he denied all of the claims and called the report a political attack on his character
Report states investigators found it ‘revealing and consistent with the Executive Chamber’s overall approach’ that the inner circle of advisers brought in ‘included a number of individuals with no official role in the Executive Chamber’
Despite not being employed by the State, Cuomo’s advisers were ‘regularly provided with confidential and often privileged information about state operations’
Emails show Chris also apparently helped draft a written statement characterizing Andrew as someone who is ‘playful’ and ‘makes jokes’ sometimes
The report cites internal documents and communications obtained during the investigation which show that ‘the governor’s advisors, including Mr Pollock and Chris Cuomo, counseled him to express contrition after the press published Ms. Bennett’s allegations.’
Emails show Chris also apparently helped craft a response by drafting a written statement characterizing Andrew as someone who is sometimes ‘playful’ and ‘makes jokes’.
The news anchor came under fire in May after admitting that he had been ‘looped into calls’ on how his high-profile brother should handle the allegations, on his primetime CNN show.
Some of Chris’ staffers were also on the phone at the time.
The revelation drew harsh criticism from his own colleague Jake Tapper, who accused Chris of putting network employees in ‘a bad spot’ and said he couldn’t ‘imagine a world in which anybody in journalism thinks that that was appropriate.’
The younger Cuomo later apologized for his behavior and acknowledged he had made a ‘mistake.’
In May Chris said he is ‘truly sorry’ and admits he crossed the line taking part in strategy calls advising his brother Gov. Andrew Cuomo through his sex-pest scandal
The governor made numerous appearances on his own brother’s show last year, for lighthearted interviews that featured brotherly banter
‘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,’ he said at the time.
New York Attorney General Letitia James announcing her findings on Tuesday after a five month investigation. She said she believes all of the women but she cannot bring criminal charges, instead saying her focus was on determining if the allegations were true
‘I love my brother. I love my family. I love my job, and I love and respect my colleagues here at CNN. And again, to them I am truly sorry.’
Charlotte Bennett, 35, claimed that in June 2020, when she was alone with Cuomo he told her he was open to a relationship with a much younger woman.
Cuomo supposedly complained that he ‘can’t even hug anyone’ during the pandemic and said: ‘No, I mean, like really hugged somebody?’
Bennett told the New York Times: ‘I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared.’
On February this year, the day when the story was published, Cuomo released a press release saying he did not ‘intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.’
The next day, he issued another press release saying that he ‘never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm.’
The report states that during his testimony to investigators, Chris Cuomo said there was ‘discussion about remedial measures the (executive) chamber should take in light of the sexual harassment allegations, but some people had taken the position that ‘they should just wait.’
The 168-report was released on Tuesday after a five month investigation by the NY AG. It substantiated the allegations of 11 women who say Cuomo sexually harassed them either by groping them or making inappropriate comments dating back to 2013
The report does not explain if Chris Cuomo’s advice to his brother was born of efforts to make his brother feel contrition or if it was a strategic move to help him survive the scandal.
Previous reports in the Washington Post painted a different picture and said that Chris Cuomo urged his brother to take up a ‘defiant’ position amid calls for his resignation.
Chris Cuomo supposedly brought up ‘cancel culture’ and encouraged his brother to stand his ground.
Andrew Cuomo responded to the Attorney General’s report in a televised address Tuesday saying the ‘facts are much different than what has been portrayed’.
He said: ‘I want you to know that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances…
‘That is just not who I am and that’s not who I have ever been’.
Cuomo said he’d never sexually harass anyone, much less a sexual assault survivor like Charlotte Bennett – claiming he has helped a female relative overcome sexual abuse himself.
He said that the women invariably misinterpreted his ‘warm’ gestures like hugs and kisses, or misunderstood compliments.
After he spoke, critics renewed calls for him to resign and some suggested he should be impeached.