By Mimi Nguyen Ly
CNN on Saturday terminated one of its top anchors, Chris Cuomo, after having indefinitely suspended him earlier this week.
The suspension was announced on Tuesday to review Chris Cuomo’s conduct over materials that suggested he was more involved than he had admitted in trying to help his brother, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, amid sexual harassment allegations against the former governor earlier this year.
The materials were released on Nov. 29 by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, whose office found that Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women while he was governor.
CNN was reviewing the new materials before it decided to suspend Chris Cuomo and then ultimately fire him.
CNN hired a law firm for the review. The firm recommended Chris Cuomo’s termination and CNN chief Jeff Zucker informed the anchor of the decision on Saturday.
In a statement, CNN said, “We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated him, effective immediately.
“While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light. Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate.”
CNN would not discuss that information, or characterize whether it had anything to do with his brother.
Chris Cuomo, who hosted CNN’s most-watched prime-time news show, issued a statement on Twitter, saying, “This is not how I want my time at CNN to end but I have already told you why and how I helped my brother.
“So let me now say as disappointing as this is, I could not be more proud of the team at Cuomo Prime Time and the work we did as CNN’s #1 show in the most competitive time slot,” he said.
According the newly released materials, Chris Cuomo had tapped sources he developed in his media job to find more information on his brother’s case and the women involved.
The materials also showed he asked to help his brother’s team prepare responses to the allegations, and even drafted a five paragraph statement he wanted released under his brother’s name.
The new details are at odds with what Chris Cuomo told viewers in August: “I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation. I never influenced or attempted to control CNN’s coverage of my family.”
Chris Cuomo had previously acknowledged in May that he had broken some of CNN’s rules in advising his brother about how to handle the sexual misconduct allegations from a public relations perspective. He also said he would not report his brother’s case on air.
Experts told The Epoch Times earlier this week that Chris Cuomo’s behavior violates journalism standards.
“It is unethical for a journalist to use their position, contacts, and influence to help a family member or friend involved in an investigation by law enforcement,” Rebecca Aguilar, president of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), said in an email, adding, “The SPJ Code of Ethics clarifies the rules: Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived, minimize harm and be accountable and transparent.”
Andrew Cuomo stepped down as governor in August and denied the sexual misconduct allegations against him.
At the time, the New York Assembly had begun deliberations on an impeachment inquiry into his alleged sexual misconduct as well as his administration’s underreporting of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, and.a possible misuse of state resources in relation to a book he published about his handling of the pandemic.
The impeachment inquiry was suspended days after Andrew Cuomo stepped down.
The Associated Press and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.
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