After facts surfaced about how he assisted his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in facing sexual harassment allegations earlier this year, CNN suspended anchor Chris Cuomo indefinitely on Tuesday.
Cuomo had a deeper degree of engagement in his brother’s activities than CNN executives previously understood, according to records revealed by New York’s attorney general on Monday.
“As a result,” the network added, “we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further assessment.”
According to emails and a transcript of his testimony to investigators working for state Attorney General Letitia James, the CNN anchor pressured sources for information on his brother’s accusers and reported back to the governor’s office, and was engaged in helping construct their response to the claims. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women, according to her office.
When his brother was accused of sexual harassment, Chris Cuomo admitted to talking to him and offered guidance. However, the material provided on Monday revealed significantly more specifics concerning Chris Cuomo’s actions. Andrew Cuomo resigned in August to avert the possibility of being impeached.
According to Nielsen, Cuomo’s show, which airs at 9 p.m. Eastern time on weeknights, averaged 1.3 million viewers, just beating Anderson Cooper as CNN’s most popular show. Viewership has plummeted following a spike during the election season, as it has for many cable newscasts.
On Monday night, Cuomo appeared on his show, talking about COVID-19 and politics without discussing his personal problems.
Cuomo and the lawyer who defended him during his appearance last summer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Tuesday, Anderson Cooper filled in for Cuomo on his broadcast.
Cuomo interviewed his brother on the radio many times during the first two months of the outbreak. It was a ratings smash, despite the fact that it went against CNN’s policy of not having Cuomo report on his brother, and it was a programming decision that has only become worse with time and new disclosures.
When Andrew Cuomo was contesting the charges last May, Chris Cuomo spoke with his brother’s advisers often, sometimes disagreeing with their counsel.
Cuomo spoke to attorney general’s office investigators in July, saying, “This is my brother, and I’m trying to help my brother through a circumstance where he informed me he done nothing wrong.”
He has stated that he had no control over the story’s coverage on his own network.
Cuomo also stated that he contacted other journalists to see whether they were writing pieces about his brother, specifically Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker. He admitted that he didn’t notify CNN he was doing it, but said his activities were “nothing out of the usual” for a journalist.
Following the attorney general’s publication, critics have urged for CNN to take action, with David A. Graham of The Atlantic suggesting Cuomo should resign – or be fired by CNN if he doesn’t.
CNN issued a statement in May after it was exposed by The Washington Post that Cuomo had talked with his brother’s staff, saying that his actions were wrong but not disciplining him.
Cuomo is 13 years younger than Andrew Cuomo, whom he refers to as his best buddy. They are the sons of Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York who served from 1982 to 1996.
He spent several years with ABC News before joining CNN as co-host of the network’s morning show in 2013.
Shelley Ross, a longtime TV executive, said in a September essay for The New York Times that Cuomo had touched her 16 years ago at a party. “I apologized to her then, and I meant it,” Cuomo told the publication.