Chris Cuomo is seeking a $125 million compensation from an arbitrator for his expulsion from CNN, claiming that his superiors were well aware of how he counseled his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and that they suggested they done the same.
Cuomo, CNN president Jeff Zucker, and his senior deputy, Allison Gollust, have all been fired in the last three months, and his application for arbitration on Wednesday exposes more turmoil at the network.
After a Fresh York Attorney General’s investigation publicly disclosed new facts about how he helped his brother prepare to battle sexual harassment charges, Zucker removed Cuomo, anchor of the network’s most popular prime time show, in December.
Chris Cuomo’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, stated, “It should be evident by now that Chris Cuomo did not lie to CNN about supporting his brother.” “In reality, as the scant evidence disclosed from Warner Media’s inquiry shows, CNN’s top executives were not only aware of Chris’ role in assisting his brother, but also actively aided the governor, both through Chris and personally.”
A spokesperson representing Zucker and Gollust was unavailable for comment on Wednesday. Risa Heller, the spokesperson, has previously disputed that Gollust, a former press aide to Gov. Cuomo, provided guidance or counsel to the governor while working at CNN.
CNN has declined to comment on the lawsuit.
During the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, Chris Cuomo appeared nine times on CNN, breaking the network’s policy of not having Chris Cuomo engage in stories about the governor.
Chris Cuomo said in his petition on Wednesday that CNN management requested the interviews despite his and his brother’s concerns.
According to him, Zucker and Gollust attempted to deepen the network’s links to his brother by pressuring him not to appear on other networks. They suggested that the governor hold his daily briefings at a time when CNN’s ratings were in need of a lift, he added.
“Network standards were adjusted as part of a planned decision to increase ratings,” Freedman explained. “Chris was made the scapegoat when such tactics were put into question.”
Cuomo also included two former colleagues in his complaint, alleging that Don Lemon and Jake Tapper were never disciplined for ethical lapses involving Lemon texting Jussie Smollett after the actor was accused of making false allegations of a racist attack, and Tapper allegedly offering political advice.
According to the former “Cuomo Prime Time” anchor, network standards were “a movable target,” adjusted as Zucker and Gollust saw appropriate.
Cuomo will find it difficult to find work in his sector in the future because his journalistic integrity has been “unjustifiably maligned,” according to the complaint, which wants $125 million in damages.
Zucker quit under duress earlier this year when it was found that he had broken company policy by failing to disclose his relationship with Gollust. She was ejected shortly after that.