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Photo: Chris Cuomo 

Two weekends ago, CNN fired Chris Cuomo after news emerged of how he corroborated with his brother, former governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. Rumors spread that the former helped Andrew through a scandalous deal right after he fell under heat for sexual harassment allegations earlier in the year. 

Cuomo was the prime news anchor of the CNN network and his suspension has had a ripple effect on the network. He is now under investigation after the New York attorney general released information detailing how deeply he was involved in the strategizing and corroborating that took place with journalists in an attempt to save A. Cuomo’s job. 

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CNN’s Response to Chris Cuomo’s Firing

In response, CNN has hired a law firm to join the review, although the specifics have not been released. Lawyers recommended that C. Cuomo be terminated until his name is cleared and Jeff Zucker, CNN chief informed the anchor of the decision on December 11. 

In a statement, CNN said they were, “ in the process of that review, additional information has come to light.” They refused to offer any more commentary on the process and whether it had anything to do with C. Cuomo’s brother. The former’s reaction was of course full of disappointment and sadness and he released a statement on Twitter that echoed his sentiments. 

“This is not how I want my time at CNN to end but I have already told you why and how I helped my brother. So let me now say as disappointing as this is, I could not be more proud of the team at Cuomo Prime Time and the work we did.”

Andrew and Chris Cuomo: Political Brother Duo

Andrew and Chris are sons to late New York Governor, Mario Cuomo. A politically successful family, Andrew was a three-term governor who was celebrated for his handling of the pandemic, mask mandates, and vaccines. Chris was one of the biggest personalities on CNN and a fan favorite for his emboldened opinions. 

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The persecution of them began with many women stepping forward and accusing the former Governor of sexual harassment. The validity of the claims was never proven but per the ethical code to always believe the victim, A. Cuomo was still reprieved of his job. C. Cuomo who must have been upset at the news, overstepped his boundaries, despite being a news anchor, and pressed the sources for more information on their claims. Anything he discovered was reported back to his brother’s staff in an attempt to hopefully prove the claims wrong. 

Chris Cuomo’s Shady Involvement and Investigations

More than that, C. Cuomo was actively helping craft responses to the charges which were revealed through transcripts of emails and the eventual testimony that was held by state Attorney General Letitia James. Her office found that 11 women were sexually harassed by A. Cuomo, which led to his decision to resign and avoid a likely to happen impeachment trial. 

CNN has been quite understanding of C. Cuomo’s actions, saying that despite all the controversy and the talks of his misconduct, which had begun in the early weeks of May, they understood his prioritization.  In this week’s statement, they said, “We appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second.”

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Upon reviewing the transcripts, which were released by James, the amount of corroboration between the brothers was greater than even the CNN executives thought they had known. C. Cuomo said he never intended or tried to influence CNN’s coverage of his brother through his efforts but that he merely called other journalists to glean information on what they knew of the accusers. The statement conflicted with what C. Cuomo had said in August, on-air, after his brother had just resigned. He had said, “I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation.” 

Chris Cuomo Responds

He elaborated on the tone and intention behind his investigations, saying that he never, “attacked, nor encouraged anyone to attack any woman who came forward.” Perhaps the only thing we know for certain through the transcripts was that he had written to one of the aids saying he had a lead on one of the accusers, although the layered meaning of that statement is still unclear. 

The decision was not an easy one for Zucker who had installed C. Cuomo as a morning show host in 2013. Later he’d been moved to prime time which birthed his “Cuomo Prime Time” segment. He’d been quick to back C. Cuomo as the show had been the network’s highest-rated show, airing at 9 p.m between the Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon shows. The firing affected the network greatly, leaving a gap in their schedule with a former rival quickly acting to pursue the empty role. Brian Wiliams who recently announced his department from MSNBC also has the potential to replace C. Cuomo with skills in nightly news anchoring. 

Because of his omission of truth, C. Chomp will also receive no severance pay from the network. Many are on board with that decision and are advocating for a woman to replace his daily role, bring a fresh and honest perspective. 

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His book deal with Harper Collins was also dropped, ending chances of his book, ‘Deep Denial’ from being published. It was a collection of political commentary done by C. Cuomo himself but now all efforts on the project are paused. 

Fake News, Preserving the Truth and the Future of the Network 

The potential for conflict was not something new or surprising for the brothers, one was a governor and the other a journalist. But, since C. Cuomo joined the CNN family they’d worked hard to prevent any coverage about his brother. When the pandemic hit, this rule was altered, with the governor appearing on his brother’s show and exchanging family-type banter with him in quite hilarious skits they prepared. The ethical red flags of such conversations led to a halting of those online meetings which only escalated as Andrew’s accusers stepped forward. 

The importance of removing C. Cuomo lies in the news’ current struggle to preserve the truth and the whole truth. With the fake news phenomenon diluting every fact, every sentence we read, especially during the 2016 Presidential election, it is more important than ever that we trust our news sources. Despite the empathy that many have for C. Cuomo’s actions to protect his family and brother, many also understand that maintaining CNN’s credibility and honest coverage is and should remain the priority when it comes to covering the news, telling stories and communicating with the public. 

By Mireille Karadanaian

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Black Lives Matter, in which he tackles more than just police reform, press freedom and more – click here.

An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “The Hollywood Insider fully supports the much-needed Black Lives Matter movement. We are actively, physically and digitally a part of this global movement. We will continue reporting on this major issue of police brutality and legal murders of Black people to hold the system accountable. We will continue reporting on this major issue with kindness and respect to all Black people, as each and every one of them are seen and heard.

Just a reminder, that the Black Lives Matter movement is about more than just police brutality and extends into banking, housing, education, medical, infrastructure, etc. We have the space and time for all your stories. We believe in peaceful/non-violent protests and I would like to request the rest of media to focus on 95% of the protests that are peaceful and working effectively with positive changes happening daily. Media has a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so.”

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