CNN has fired star host Chris Cuomo “effective immediately”, days after the New York attorney-general detailed how the journalist had helped in the defence of his brother, former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, against sexual harassment allegations.
On Saturday, CNN said: “We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review and have terminated [Chris Cuomo], effective immediately.”
“While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light,” the TV network said, adding: “Despite the termination, we will continue to investigate as appropriate.”
CNN said the anchor of the “Cuomo Prime Time” programme had admitted that he broke the network’s rules when he offered advice to his brother’s staff on how to deal with the scandal. But the documents released by James’ office on Monday showed a much deeper level of involvement than had been previously known, the network said.
In a statement, Chris Cuomo said: “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.”
He praised the team who worked on “Cuomo Prime Time”. “I owe them all and will miss that special group of people who did really important work,” he added.
The firing underlines how problematic Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defence has been for CNN, which is owned by AT&T but is preparing for a new owner. AT&T has agreed to sell its WarnerMedia arm, which owns CNN as well as the HBO network, to Discovery.
After being praised for decisive action in the early days of the pandemic, support for Andrew Cuomo declined precipitously. He was forced to resign as governor of New York earlier this year after multiple women accused him of sexual assault.
While Chris Cuomo did not cover the news on his show, he advised his brother’s senior aides on navigating the crisis and sought to find out what rival news outlets were working on.
The documents released by James’ office showed that the broadcast journalist had tried to use his media contacts to help his brother’s defence.