CNN host Chris Cuomo is taking heat after acknowledging that he spoke to his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), about the sexual misconduct scandal he is facing.
How we got here: Cuomo was part of several conference calls that included lawyers, outside advisers, a top aide of Cuomo as well as the governor’s communications team, the Washington Post reported earlier this week. During the calls, the CNN host advised his brother not to resign and even referred to “cancel culture.”
CNN later confirmed that the primetime host participated in “inappropriate” strategy meetings.
“Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes. In part, because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother.”
“However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges. He will not participate in such conversations going forward,” the network said.
Cuomo’s response: The CNN host said Thursday on his show “Cuomo Prime Time” that “of course” he gives his brother advice. He claimed that he has “never hidden” that and insisted that he can be objective and that he knows “where the line is.”
“I understand why that was a problem for CNN,” Cuomo told viewers. “It will not happen again. It was a mistake because I put my colleagues here, who I believe are the best in the business, in a bad spot. I never intended for that. I would never intend for that, and I am sorry for that.”
The host added that he was in a “unique and difficult situation” because he works in the media while his brother is a prominent politician.
Critics expressed skepticism about the sincerity of Cuomo’s apology and claim that he can remain objective, pointing to the interviews he had with his brother last year.
The allegations: More than 10 women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the New York governor since the beginning of 2021. The accusations have triggered two probes, one led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is investigating the claims on a state level, and another “impeachment investigation” spearheaded by New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
Meanwhile, the feminist organization Ultraviolet called on CNN to fire Cuomo.
“This was a major network news anchor advising the Governor of New York to actively push back against sexual harassment allegations and denegrate (sic) survivors,” they said. “The fact that after this advice, Governor Cuomo instructed surrogates to attack and defame those who courageously came forward with their stories should not be lost on anyone.”
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