Fired former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo won’t be pulling this punch.
Claiming that the nature of his 2021 ouster will make it nearly impossible for him to get a similar job, the disgraced “Cuomo Prime Time” anchor filed an arbitration demand for $125 million on Wednesday, including his remaining salary and “future lost wages.”
“Cuomo has had his journalistic integrity unjustifiably smeared, making it difficult if not impossible for Cuomo to find similar work in the future and damaging him in amounts exceeding $125 million, which includes not only the remaining salary owed under the Agreement, but future wages lost as a result of CNN’s efforts to destroy his reputation,” reads the claim, filed Wednesday by Cuomo’s attorneys and acquired by TheWrap.
It’s Cuomo’s first legal move since he was fired in December by then-CNN head Jeff Zucker for allegedly helping his brother Andrew Cuomo during the ex-New York governor’s various media crises. The filing is a strong indication that Cuomo disagrees with the nature of his firing, and plans to seek maximum compensation from CNN and Turner Media.
“Cuomo now seeks to recover the full measure of his damages against Turner and CNN,” the filing says.
Zucker himself was caught up in the probe, stepping down Feb. 2 when a consensual relationship with a subordinate colleague was revealed as part of the Cuomo investigation. For now, Zucker has chosen not to fight his former employer, accepting the remainder of his contract bonus as an exit package that — for now — avoids any lawsuits.
It’s a different story with Cuomo, who opens his legal play with an aggressive stance. In a statement to TheWrap, his lawyer, Bryan Freedman, strongly suggested that Cuomo should not have been fired in the first place — and that his bosses are hypocrites.
“It should by now be obvious that Chris Cuomo did not lie to CNN about helping his brother,” the statement reads. “In fact, as the limited information released from WarnerMedia’s investigation makes clear, CNN’s highest-level executives not only knew about Chris’s involvement in helping his brother but also actively assisted the Governor, both through Chris and directly themselves. As CNN has admitted, network standards were changed in a calculated decision to boost ratings. When those practices were called into question, Chris was made the scapegoat … [it’s] clear that CNN wrongfully terminated Chris and further violated the express terms of his employment agreement by allowing its employees to disparage him.”
The filing was first reported by Deadline.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.