Chris Cuomo was allegedly fired from his post at CNN after executives learned that the news anchor was accused of sexual assault. The accusations were made, according to The New York Times, just hours after he was suspended in December for advising his brother, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on how to deal with the media during his sexual harassment scandal.
The unnamed accuser claimed that Cuomo attacked an ABC temp worker in his office after she turned down a proposition for sex during a “lunch” meeting. The incident occurred back in 2011, according to the accuser, who spoke through her lawyer, Debra Katz.
Chris Cuomo offered to have the meeting over lunch to help the young woman and give her advice about how to become a full-time employee at the end of her temp placement with the news network. A report sent to CNN in December stated that when the temp worker arrived, there was no food and Chris Cuomo sexually assaulted her, despite declining his “aggressive” advances.
The young woman’s lawyer, Debra Katz, said that Cuomo later contacted the woman amid stories of news anchors getting fired for #MeToo allegations, and “attempt[ed] to ‘test the waters’ and discourage her from going on the record about his sexual misconduct.”
Chris Cuomo was previously accused of sexual assault in 2015, when it was revealed that once grabbed the buttocks of veteran TV producer Shelley Ross at a work party. Ross later stated that he apologized, which she accepted at the time.
Multiple unnamed coworkers and friends allegedly backed up the temp worker’s story in speaking with The New York Times. They said that she was “haunted” by Chris Cuomo’s similarities to his brother and was compelled to speak out at the time.
She stated that she was “deeply traumatized” by the event, and that she chose to remain anonymous so as to not become “a pawn” in the legal battle between Cuomo and CNN President Jeff Zucker.
“Hearing the hypocrisy of Chris Cuomo’s on-air words and disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women, my client retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN,” Debra Katz wrote in the report to CNN.
Chris Cuomo was fired by CNN just a few days later.
“Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this week pending evaluation of new information that came to light about his involvement with his brother’s defense,” the news outlet wrote back in December. “We have retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated him, effective immediately.”
“While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light,” the statement read, which many now believe to be the unnamed woman’s claims of sexual assault.
Matt Dornic, head of communications for CNN, told NPR that, “When the new allegations came to us this week, we took them seriously, and saw no reason to delay taking immediate action.”
According to lawyers for Chris Cuomo, the news anchor believes that he was fired without due process, and that CNN let him go before the allegations ever even surfaced.
He allegedly had a meeting with CNN President Jeff Zucker before he was suspended, and stated that Zucker told him he would presumably be back after a bit and had no need to consult with a lawyer. He was fired just a couple of days after.
Claiming the sexual allegations are “false,” a spokesman for Cuomo said that “he was never asked about the allegations prior to being terminated or given an opportunity to respond.”
Zucker, who later revealed that he kept secret a consensual relationship with another CNN senior executive, also stepped down earlier this month.