Chris Cuomo advised brother Andrew Cuomo on sexual harassment accusations
“If you are actively advising a politician in trouble while being an on-air host on a news network, that’s not okay,” said Columbia Journalism School professor Nicholas Lemann
Critics are coming down hard on CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and the role he’s played regarding his brother’s sexual harassment accusations.
It was recently revealed that the journalist advised Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York on strategy in regards to the sexual assault accusations against him. It is frowned upon for journalists to engage in politics, per The Washington Post.
“If you are actively advising a politician in trouble while being an on-air host on a news network, that’s not okay,” said a professor at Columbia Journalism School and a New Yorker staff writer, Nicholas Lemann.
Earlier this year, the governor was accused of speaking to and touching women he worked with inappropriately. His brother was allegedly on calls with his top aide, communications team, lawyers, and many outside advisers who tackled how the manner should be handled.
Lawmakers and critics called for Cuomo’s resignation, but sources say he took his brother’s advice not to step down. Chris, who is 13-years younger than Andrew, cited “cancel culture” as a reason for him not to resign.
“The governor only trusts about five people,” said an adviser with knowledge of the strategy calls who asked to remain anonymous. “So that’s why Chris is on these calls.”
The state attorney general and the state assembly are investigating allegations against the governor.
“Obviously, I am aware of what is going on with my brother,” Chris told viewers on March 1. “And obviously, I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now, of course, CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and they will continue to do so. I have always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so. I just want to tell you that.”
CNN is aware of the anchor’s participation in the strategy sessions, but he will not be penalized.
“Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes,” said CNN in a statement. “In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother.”
“However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges,” added the statement. “He will not participate in such conversations going forward.”
On Thursday, CNN employees said they are disappointed but not surprised.
“There’s a general sense of frustration,” said a reporter who asked to remain anonymous. “I don’t think anyone was surprised they spoke about this, given they are family, but calls with lawyers and staff … wow.”
Another called the brothers’ move “really upsetting.”
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