PROSPECT HEIGHTS — A sexual misconduct allegation against CNN anchor Chris Cuomo may have contributed to the network firing him over the weekend.
The anchor was placed on suspension last Tuesday as the network hired a law firm to probe complaints that he improperly helped his brother, Andrew Cuomo, avoid the fallout from similar accusations while he was governor of New York.
A day before the suspension, New York Attorney General Letitia James released numerous documents from her investigation into the ex-governor. The information described how Chris Cuomo had become an unpaid advisor to his brother, and even suggested ways to discredit the women who accused him of misconduct.
On Wednesday, CNN was contacted by a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who said she represented a woman who alleges Chris Cuomo perpetrated “serious sexual misconduct against her.”
CNN announced Saturday that the “Cuomo Prime Time” host’s employment was terminated “effective immediately.”
According to a CNN spokesperson, “Based on the report we received regarding Chris’ conduct with his brother’s defense, we had cause to terminate. When new allegations came to us this week, we took them seriously and saw no reason to delay taking immediate action.”
Cuomo issued his own statement Saturday on Twitter.
“This is not how I want my time at CNN to end,” he said in the tweet. “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 as CNN’s #1 show in the most competitive time slot. I owe them all and will miss that group of special people who did really important work.”
Cuomo was roundly criticized by media professionals, including some at CNN, who said the assistance given his brother violated journalistic norms. Following his brother’s resignation as governor in August, Cuomo made an on-air explanation, stating he made suggestions to his brother as a concerned family member, not as a member of his team.
He went on to say that he “always cared very deeply” about sexual misconduct issues “and profoundly so.”
His accuser’s lawyer, Debra Katz, responded that the woman was disgusted by Cuomo’s “hypocrisy.”
In a statement, Katz said the information released by James was “jaw-dropping” evidence demonstrating that “Chris Cuomo played an active role in attempting to smear women whom (James) concluded had made serious allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct against the Governor.”
“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,” Katz said.
She added that her client has come forward because she feels sharing her story “could help protect other women.”
“Given the nature of her allegations, she wishes to remain anonymous, and we ask that you respect this decision,” Katz said.
A spokesman for the former anchor said these latest allegations are false.