The Wall Street Journal on Friday reported damning new details about the ouster of former CNN marketing chief Allison Gollust. According to WSJ, an internal investigation found she advised Chris Cuomo on how to help his brother, former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, respond to sexual harassment accusations.
But in a statement provided to TheWrap, Gollust’s representative, Risa Heller, denied that report.
“Allison Gollust never offered advice or counsel to Andrew Cuomo. Period. If she wanted to advise the governor, she could have called or texted him directly (she didn’t). Now 10 days after she resigned, WarnerMedia has offered their fourth reason (or maybe fifth? it’s hard to keep track) for why Allison resigned — the far-fetched notion she was laundering covert advice to the Governor through casual conversations with a colleague is patently ridiculous,” Heller said.
“These are innocuous, mundane conversations that are being spun into a nefarious tale,” Heller continued. “The continued retaliatory smear campaign against a woman who spent nine years serving as the fiercely loyal steward of CNN’s brand, integrity and journalism is despicable, and being used as retrofitted justification for an unmerited dismissal. It is misleading and wrong.”
Gollust resigned from CNN on Feb. 15, just two weeks after her boyfriend, Jeff Zucker abruptly resigned as CNN president. Zucker and Gollust had initially claimed his resignation was because he hadn’t disclosed their romantic relationship to the company.
However, when Gollust resigned, Warnermedia CEO Jason Kilar said in a memo that “the investigation found violations of Company policies, including CNN’s News Standards and Practices, by Jeff Zucker, Allison Gollust, and Chris Cuomo.”
Since then, multiple reports have unveiled several instances of seemingly unethical conduct. Last week, The New York Times reported that the investigation determined Gollust permitted Andrew Cuomo — who happened to be her former boss — to dictate what questions he would be asked during CNN interviews in the early days of the pandemic.
The Times also said Gollust passed along Cuomo’s preferred topics of discussion to CNN producers and reported back to him that his request was “Done,” according to several insiders familiar with the details of the investigation by CNN parent WarnerMedia.