Chris Cuomo in May, 2018 in New York City.
Mike Coppola | Getty Images
CNN on Tuesday said it suspended host Chris Cuomo indefinitely after documents revealed that his damage-control work during a sex harassment scandal for his brother, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was much more complex than previously known.
“The New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense,” a CNN spokeswoman said in an email to CNBC. “The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions.”
“When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly,” she said.
“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. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.”
The move came within hours of a demand that CNN fire Chris Cuomo by Charlotte Bennett, a former Gov. Cuomo aide, who was one of nearly a dozen women to accuse him of sexual harassment.
Bennett said Chris Cuomo had tried to smear her and other accusers of his brother.
“Anything short of firing Chris Cuomo reflects a network lacking morals and a backbone,” Bennett said. Does CNN stand by journalistic integrity, or will it simply excuse his actions because Chris Cuomo drives ratings?”
On Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James, who had commissioned an investigation of Andrew Cuomo earlier this year after a number of women accused him of sexual, released documents related to Chris Cuomo, who counseled his brother and the governor’s staff about how to deal with the rising number of claims.
CNN earlier had said that they planned to review the details in the documents following their release.
Ratings for Cuomo’s nightly show, “Cuomo Prime Time,” were relatively strong, but recently they fell to a low point.
CNN announced earlier this month that the show averaged 826,000 in total viewers this month, “delivering the network’s highest rated program in total viewers.” The Wrap reported a week after the ratings announcement that Cuomo’s program had hit an all-time low in the ratings.
A transcript and exhibits recently released by James show that Chris Cuomo engaged with sources about a woman who accused the former governor of him attempting to kiss her, along with other attempts by the anchor to check on whether other alleged victims were about to come forward.
He also regularly spoke with those in his media circles about future stories that certain reporters were working on, including one by investigative reporter Ronan Farrow, the documents show.
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