Former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo has denied he outed his ex-boss Jeff Zucker’s workplace relationship with a colleague as he sues the network for $125 million amid claims they made him ‘unhireable,’ despite landing himself a new job.
Cuomo was grilled by New York Magazine’s Kara Swisher on her podcast, On With Kara Swisher, that touched on his firing and the ‘problematic’ interviews he held with his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Despite digging at the lawsuit, Swisher played softball with the disgraced journalist about helping his brother out with sexual assault allegations by using his media sources to acquire information on accusers, which resulted in his termination from CNN.
While many believe Cuomo retaliated by exposing Zucker’s consensual relationship with CNN’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Allison Gollust, Cuomo promptly denied it when quizzed by Swisher.
‘No, I didn’t,’ Cuomo responded when asked whether he ‘pushed to disclose’ the relationship following his firing.
‘People think a lot of things and very often it’s for bad reason or self-serving reason or to hurt somebody else,’ Cuomo said. ‘I’m not the guy to play petty, gotcha shots and go after people.’
Former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo was grilled by journalist Kara Swisher and asked about his termination at CNN as he sues the network for $125 million over his firing
Swisher, editor of New York Magazine, asked Cuomo how his firing from CNN made him unhireable as he has already landed a new job
Cuomo was found to have helped his brother, ex-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (pictured here), defend himself from sexual harassment allegations from 11 women
He went on to call Zucker ‘one of the best makers of television’ and the relationship being revealed gave him ‘no joy,’ adding that Zucker ‘gave me tremendous opportunities.’
Despite the kind words for his former boss, Cuomo bitterly lamented that he was ‘recognized in Malawi as much as I would be in Milwaukee’ before his firing.
According to the lawsuit: ‘Cuomo has had his journalistic integrity unjustifiably smeared, making it difficult if not impossible for Cuomo to find similar work in the future and damaging him in amounts exceeding $125 million, which includes not only the remaining salary owed under the Agreement, but future wages lost as a result of CNN’s efforts to destroy his reputation in violation of the Agreement.’
When Swisher pointed out that Cuomo has a new job, namely his new show, Cuomo, on NewsNation, he responded by asking ‘do you believe that where I am now is equivalent to where I was?’
NewsNation is a new broadcaster which bills itself as offering neutral reporting on current events – a marked departure for Cuomo, who enjoyed inserting his opinions into stories while on CNN.
Cuomo will reportedly earn $1 million for his new hosting gig on NewsNation – a fraction of his former $6 million-a-year paycheck at CNN.
Swisher glossed over an anonymous sexual assault allegation against Cuomo, and simply checked if he denies the allegations.
The former CNN front man bluntly answered ‘yes’ to each of Swisher’s questions about the subject before she moved on to the next subject, refusing to dig deeper into it.
Swisher also went easy on the former CNN anchor when it came to his brother’s sexual harassment allegations, and the ex-governor’s younger brother dutifully sidestepped the questions anyway.
When asked whether he felt it was inappropriate for him to help his brother wriggle out of the allegations, Cuomo said ‘what’s the difference between helping him personally and strategically?’
Former CNN boss Jeff Zucker was terminated from his position when he didn’t disclose a relationship with CNN executive Allison Gollust, though Cuomo denies exposing them
Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Allison Gollust, who resigned along with Zucker, is thought to have engaged in the relationship with him for years
‘I was helping him in ways that I thought were reasonable,’ said Chris Cuomo, right, of helping his brother Andrew, left, defend against sexual harassment allegations
Cuomo continues to maintain he doesn’t see anything wrong with his actions, and says because he wasn’t covering his brother’s allegations, he was free to help him.
‘I was helping him in ways that I thought were reasonable,’ said Cuomo.
‘I don’t know how it hurt the audience. I’ve never heard that it hurt the audience,’ he said of his helping shape his brother’s defense against sexual harassment allegations.
At the time he issued an on-air apology on CNN, Cuomo said that he ‘knows where the line is’.
He addressed the conflict of interest again in his podcast, saying: ‘I really do regret how everything ended, but I will never regret helping my family.’
Andrew Cuomo’s career collapsed as a politician after he was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior towards 11 women.
He resigned in August 2021 after months of pushback and eventually all criminal charges were dropped against him.
The charges against Cuomo were based on allegations by Brittany Commisso, who said Cuomo reached up her blouse and grabbed her breast in late 2020 while they were alone in his Executive Mansion office, where she´d been summoned to help with his cellphone.
He insisted he did no such thing, saying ‘it would be an act of insanity.’
Her testimony was among the most damning in a report released in August 2021 by Democratic state Attorney General Letitia James that concluded Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women.
Chris maintains that he was not ‘the main guy’ in helping his brother overcome the allegations and was merely a ‘side piece’ in the efforts.
This notion is backed up by notes from his brother’s top aide Melissa DeRosa, who noted ‘Chris sends me a lot of things a lot of the time. Half of it I don’t engage in. He gives unsolicited advice.’
The former governor was also blamed for many of New York’s 15,000 nursing home COVID deaths after forcing the facilities to accept COVID-positive patients at the start of the pandemic.
Chris chummily interviewed his brother on his CNN show during this time, and admitted to Swisher he knew having his brother on his show was a conflict of interest ‘all day long.’
He defended the decision to do that as well, and said ‘[W]hen I did have him on, it was not about news and covering a governor of state. That’s all I’m saying,’ despite interviewing him on a news show.