CNN has fired Chris Cuomo amid an investigation into his involvement into advising his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. He was suspended earlier this week and the network conducted an investigation.
“Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this week pending further evaluation of new information that came to light about his involvement with his brother’s defense. We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated him, effective immediately,” the network said in a statement on Saturday. “While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light. Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate.”
In his own statement on Saturday, 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. 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.”
On Monday, new documents, released by the office of the New York Attorney General, revealed that Cuomo went to greater lengths than he previously disclosed while advising his brother. The documents, which were from an investigation of the sexual harassment accusations that forced the governor to resign, showed that the host used his contacts as a journalist to attempt to learn information about the accusers.
“I would – when asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” Cuomo told investigators, according to transcripts.
In addition, the documents reveal that Chris Cuomo was regularly in touch with Andrew Cuomo’s adviser Melissa DeRosa. A text message proves that in March, just days after a woman named Anna Ruch accused Andrew Cuomo of attempting to kiss her at a wedding, Chris Cuomo told DeRosa, “I have a lead on the wedding girl.”
Around the same time, Cuomo told viewers he “obviously” could not cover the accusations against Andrew. However, he did not disclose that he was already serving as a de facto adviser.
CNN had previously stood by Cuomo even as increasingly problematic new information about his involvement with Andrew Cuomo’s defense emerged, and even as those details angered other CNN employees. Back in August, CNN’s Brian Stelter all but confirmed that Cuomo’s ratings were protecting him from any real punishment. “Viewers wanted to see him on TV, and let’s be honest, this is TV, so that’s not a totally irrelevant factor.”
However, Cuomo’s ratings have nosedived in recent months; in November, Cuomo’s CNN program had its worst month ever with an average of 774,000 viewers, of whom 170,000 were in the advertiser-coveted 25 to 54 age demographic