CNN has fired its star anchor Chris Cuomo following his “indefinite” suspension last week. A woman accused the news anchor of sexual misconduct and her attorney said that the allegation led to Cuomo’s termination.
In a statement, civil rights lawyer Debra Katz said she contacted CNN on Dec. 1 to “report my client’s allegations of misconduct against” the anchor. “Hearing the hypocrisy of Chris Cuomo’s on-air words and disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit” the women accusing disgraced former New York governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, Katz said her client “retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN.”
Katz, who did not name her client, said she started speaking with the media company Friday and provided “documentary evidence” regarding her client’s allegations. Katz added that “CNN acted promptly on my client’s complaint and fired Mr. Cuomo.” The attorney said her client will cooperate with CNN as it investigates the allegations.
CNN did not mention the sexual misconduct allegation from Katz’s client but the media company said in a statement on Chris Cuomo’s termination Saturday that in the process of reviewing the journalist’s involvement in his brother Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal, “additional information has come to light.” The company said it will continue to investigate “as appropriate” even if Chris Cuomo has been fired.
Sources told New York Post that the woman who accused Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct was his former colleague at ABC. Before leaving ABC in 2013 for CNN, Chris Cuomo was a news anchor for ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He stayed in the said show from 2006 to 2009.
The Post added that the unidentified woman is expected to meet with lawyers hired by CNN this week. A TV insider also told New York Post that CNN finally felt it was the “right time” to terminate Chris Cuomo after learning of the latest allegations.
In a New York Times op-ed published in September, veteran TV journalist Shelley Ross wrote how Chris “greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock” during a 2005 work party at a bar at Upper West Side.
Ross quoted Chris as saying, “I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss.” Ross said that at that time, she was previously Chris’ boss at ABC’s “Primetime Live” show. The TV veteran said Chris sent her an apology email about an hour after the incident, stating he was “ashamed” of what he did, according to the report.
Chris was indefinitely suspended by CNN last week after New York Attorney General Letitia James released documents revealing the anchor’s involvement in his brother’s response to multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
Steven Goldberg, a spokesperson for Chris, said Sunday that “if the goal in making these false and unvetted accusations was to see Mr. Cuomo punished by CNN, that may explain his unwarranted termination,” CNBC reported.