A CNN stated this Saturday (4) that anchor Chris Cuomo was “disconnected” from the station, “with immediate effect”.
The announcement came after an outside law firm was tasked with reviewing information about exactly how Cuomo helped his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is accused of sexual harassment.
“Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this week while new information that emerged about his involvement in his brother’s defense was analyzed. We hired a respected law firm to conduct the review, and we shut it down, effective immediately,” said the CNN in a statement.
“During the analysis process, additional information emerged”, the text adds. “Despite the shutdown, we will investigate properly.”
Chris Cuomo himself also released a statement this Saturday. “This is not how I wanted my time CNN finished, but I’ve already told you why and how I helped my brother. So let me say that, as disappointing as this is, I couldn’t be more proud of the ‘Cuomo Prime Time’ team and the work we’ve done as the #1 show on the CNN at the most competitive schedule. I owe them all and will miss this group of special people who have done a really important job.”
Although the contours of Chris Cuomo’s involvement with the former governor’s office were revealed several months ago, the details were outlined in a mass of documents last Monday. The files — released by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James after an investigation into the former governor — demonstrated that Chris Cuomo, while working as one of the main anchors of the CNN, also acted effectively as an unpaid consultant to the former governor.
The intimate and inappropriate nature of the relationship was noted through text messages obtained from James’ office. Messages between the anchor and several governors’ aides and allies revealed that Chris Cuomo sought to use his network of media contacts to help Andrew Cuomo’s team prepare as people began to make their accusations public.
On the day his brother resigned as governor in August, Chris Cuomo told viewers, “This situation is unlike anything I could have imagined.”
He noted that he never acted in coverage of the sexual harassment scandal or attempted to interfere in coverage of the CNN. And he acknowledged that he “tried to be present” with his brother when the scandal broke out.
“I am not a consultant. I am a brother. I wasn’t in charge of anything. I was there to listen and give my opinion,” he said.
The direction of CNN demonstrated support for Cuomo, and Cuomo Prime Time, often the network’s highest-rated show, remained on air throughout the controversy.
But as the “Reliable Sources” program described at the time, some employees at CNN they were irritated by Cuomo and his violations of journalistic norms.
The rift intensified after James’ office released text messages, sworn testimony and other raw documents from the investigation into the former governor.
When the documents were released on Monday, the direction of CNN said that “thousands of pages of additional transcripts and exhibits” would be evaluated over the next few days.
On Tuesday night (30), the CNN indicated that the content was serious enough to result in a suspension.
“When Chris admitted to us that he offered advice to his brother’s team, he broke our rules, and we publicly acknowledged that,” the network said in a statement. “But we also considered the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and work second.”
“However,” the statement added, “these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.”
Cuomo initially declined to comment on the decision. On his radio show on Wednesday (1), he said the suspension was “embarrassing” but understandable. He also stated that he never wanted to “compromise” any of his colleagues and that he would respect the process.
According to Saturday’s announcement, the lawsuit included an outside law firm, a fact that had not previously been disclosed.
With the information from text messages and documents pointing to a serious violation of the norms of the CNN, Cuomo was notified of his shutdown this Saturday.
The press release from CNN it also refers to “additional information (which) emerged” during the analysis of the mass of documents. A spokesperson for CNN preferred not to reveal further details about this information.
(This text is a translation. Click here to read the original, in English)
Reference: CNN Brasil