We learned yesterday that CNN‘s golden boy Chris Cuomo had been more closely involved with his brother’s defense against allegations of sexual misconduct than previously supposed. He had, for instance, used his journalistic contacts, to scope out what other allegations might be forthcoming so he could relay that information to his brother’s team. He also wrote a statement which appeared under his brother’s name. As Ed noted earlier today, even Rolling Stone found this to be too much to defend and suggested if he were anyone else, Cuomo would have been fired by now.
Today, Charlotte Bennett, one of Andrew Cuomo’s accusers, issued her own statement on the fate of Chris Cuomo: “CNN must act — now. Anything short of firing Chris Cuomo reflects a network lacking both morals and a backbone.”
— Charlotte Bennett (@_char_bennett_) November 30, 2021
It seems something finally got through to the suits at CNN because this afternoon they suspended Chris Cuomo indefinitely. Cuomo himself hasn’t commented but Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter have a piece up about it for CNN:
Tuesday’s announcement about the suspension was the equivalent of a cable news shockwave. Cuomo’s 9 p.m. program is frequently CNN’s most-watched hour of the day. He is a larger-than-life presence at the network. And he was determined to stay on TV this year despite a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations against his brother, which culminated in the governor’s resignation three months ago…
“When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly,” the spokesperson continued. “But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second.”
“However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew,” the spokesperson added. “As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.”…
After the news was made public, an emotional Chris Cuomo met with the show’s staff.
I’m not sure what “pending further evaluation” means except that this isn’t a firing, at least not yet. Still, taking him off the air at least makes it look like CNN is taking this seriously. The Washington Post reports some at CNN were surprised it finally happened:
CNN’s decision to suspend him was a surprise to some staffers, who noted Zucker’s long-standing defense of his biggest on-air personality. Cuomo hosted his CNN show as usual on Monday night and did not discuss the burgeoning scandal.
Zucker hired Cuomo in his first month as president of the cable giant in January 2013, when he deployed the former ABC News reporter to help turn around CNN’s then-struggling morning show. The two have an easy rapport, according to people who work with both men.
We’ll have to wait and see how long it lasts. Ultimately, Chris Cuomo is their top earner, a guy who has made CNN a lot of money over the years. It’s probably going to be hard to just let that go without someone in the wings that could conceivably take over that prime time slot. Maybe they’ll move Tapper to prime time? Or maybe they’ll just let this die down for a few weeks and announce that Cuomo is coming back.