Chris Cuomo had become ‘friendless’ at CNN prior to his suspension
Controversial CNN host Chris Cuomo had become an outcast among his peers before being banned from the network for his involvement in defending brother Andrew against sexual misconduct allegations, it now appears.
The cable news network announced Tuesday night that Chris Cuomo, 51, has been suspended indefinitely, with Anderson Cooper extending his show from one hour to two hours, to cover Chris’ 9pm slot.
The news came a day after the New York Attorney General released transcripts and exhibits showing that the TV presented offered his older brother more support than was initially acknowledged.
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Pariah: Chris Cuomo was allegedly left friendless at CNN prior to his suspension on Tuesday. During his Monday night show, he ignored the topic of his own communication with his brother Andrew over claims of sexual misconduct
Chris (left) is seen with his older brother Andrew, who was governor of New York until he resigned after a sexual harassment scandal in August
Insiders have revealed that Jeff Zucker, CEO of CNN, was pressured by angry anchors, including Jake Tapper (left), to take action against Chris (right)
The everyday beast reported, citing an undisclosed source, that CNN’s president and CEO was pressured to take Chris off the air by his irate colleagues, including Jake Tapper, the host of The Lead.
Tapper told the New York Times in May that Cuomo’s actions “had put us in a bad position.”
Another person familiar with the situation told the outlet anonymously that Chris had lost support from CNN staff and fellow anchors.
“I don’t know anyone who likes him,” the anonymous source said of Chris.
CNN media correspondents Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy reported that network workers expressed “dismay” at Chris’s behavior.
Transcripts of emails and Chris Cuomo’s testimony to state investigators revealed that he regularly discussed strategies with the governor’s aides, trying to help them figure out what other journalists were reporting on harassment allegations.
Anderson Cooper filled in for Cuomo on Tuesday night, reading the network’s statement
Charlotte Bennett, a former assistant to Andrew Cuomo who accused him of making inappropriate comments to her, demanded that CNN fire his brother without awaiting the outcome of an internal review.
“Yesterday we learned how far Chris Cuomo was willing to go to discredit, silence and defame women, like me, who came forward to report Governor Cuomo’s sexual misconduct,” Bennett wrote. in a statement she tweeted Tuesday.
Bennett continues: “CNN must take immediate action. The network doesn’t need to investigate his behavior – the investigation is over and yesterday we got answers: Like his older brother, Chris Cuomo used his time, network and resources to help victims, dig up opposition investigations and downplay our credible allegations. His behavior is reprehensible, unprofessional and unforgivable.’
“CNN must act – now. Anything but firing Chris Cuomo reflects a network that lacks both morale and backbone.”
The investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James found that Andrew Cuomo sexually assaulted at least 11 women. He stepped down as governor in August to avoid a likely impeachment trial.
The last time he spoke to his brother about the charges, Chris Cuomo said during his testimony, was to find out what was going to happen and what he would tell their 90-year-old mother.
Cuomo insists he did nothing to try to influence CNN’s coverage of his brother’s political problems, and that it would be discovered soon if he did.
During his testimony, Chris regularly turned to his family when asked to explain his frequent contact – often belligerent – with Andrew’s aides as they tried to find a way to save the governor’s job.
“This is my brother and I’m trying to get my brother through a situation where he told me he didn’t do anything wrong,” Chris testified. ‘And that’s it for me. How do I help protect my family? How do I protect him? I probably should have thought more about how I protect myself, which just never crossed my mind.’
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 Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker. Cuomo argued that “the idea of one journalist calling another to find out what’s going on is completely normal.”
Cuomo testified that he had not told anyone at CNN that he was reaching out to other journalists to learn more about the Farrow piece.
When The Washington Post first reported last May that Cuomo had mapped out a strategy with his brother’s aides, CNN said it was inappropriate but did not punish him.
“When Chris admitted to giving advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we publicly acknowledged that,” a CNN spokesperson said Tuesday. “But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put his family first and his job second.”