Did CNN fire Chris Cuomo over sex harassment allegations? Ex-anchor slams 'false, unvetted' claims
Barely a day after CNN fired leading journalist Chris Cuomo over collusion with alleged sexual harasser Andrew Cuomo, the younger brother is facing similar complaints of sexual misconduct himself. On Saturday, December 4, CNN announced that anchor Chris Cuomo has been "terminated" by the network, "effective immediately". In their official statement, CNN further noted, "While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light. Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate."
It was originally believed that his involvement in helping defend his brother and former New York governor Andrew Cuomo amid raging complaints of sexual misconduct, is what cost his coveted job. However, the latest statement by attorney Debra Katz has prompted the speculation whether CNN booted the 51-year-old star anchor over his own shocking past. First revealed by New York Times, an unnamed woman from a previous workplace had accused Chris Cuomo of sexually harassing her. Her lawyer Debra Katz has now stated that the accuser reported his "serious sexual misconduct" to CNN, thereby prompting the termination overnight.
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NEW—> statement from Debra Katz on CNN’s firing of Chris Cuomo pic.twitter.com/RkmQG6aZgE— Sarah Ellison (@sarahellison) December 5, 2021
According to NYT, the unnamed complainant worked with Chris Cuomo in the past at another network and was a junior colleague to him. He apparently sexually harassed her at the time, though the accuser has not divulged the exact nature of the incident. However, her lawyer Debra Katz insists that the accuser was keen on going public with the allegations after learning about his involvement in his brother's scandal. In fact, the accuser was further triggered by Cuomo's 'hypocrisy', when he declared on his own show, "I have always cared very deeply about these issues (sexual harassment and sexual misconduct) and profoundly so. I just wanted to tell you that."
"Hearing the hypocrisy of Chris Cuomo’s on-air words and disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women, my client retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN," Katz noted. Following an internal investigation and interaction with the accuser, "CNN acted promptly on my client’s complaint and fired Mr. Cuomo."
In her statement, Debra Katz specifically mentioned, "My client came forward at this time because she felt in sharing her story and related documentation, she could help protect other women. She will continue to cooperate with CNN’s investigation into her allegations. Given the nature of her allegations, she wishes to remain anonymous, and we ask that you respect this decision."
Incidentally, Katz also happens to be the lawyer for Andrew Cuomo's former aide Charlotte Bennett, who accused the ex-governor of sexual misconduct. Meanwhile, Cuomo's representative has categorically denied the allegations dubbing them 'false and unvetted'.
Cuomo's spokesperson Steven Goldberg stated, "These apparently anonymous allegations are not true....To the extent that they were sent to CNN to negate what Chris Cuomo told his audience, he fully stands by his on-air statements about his connection to these issues, both professionally and in a profoundly personal way. If the goal in making these false and unvetted accusations was to see Mr. Cuomo punished by CNN, that may explain his unwarranted termination."
While many of Chris Cuomo's loyal supporters are siding with him and dubbing the accusations as 'false', the real truth behind the same might be unveiled as probe proceeds.