ANALYSIS: CNN Will Fire You For Being Unvaccinated But Not For Helping Your Powerful Brother Respond To Sexual Harassment Allegations

(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
Font Size:

CNN recently decided to fire employees who did not get vaccinated from COVID-19, but has failed to hold powerful members of their newsroom accountable by firing or meaningfully reprimanding them for their unethical behavior.

Prior to firing three employees over their vaccination status, CNN told employees the vaccine was mandatory in order to return to its American offices, but relied on an honor system to enforce the policy, The New York Times reported. The employees who apparently violated that honor system were immediately canned by CNN President Jeff Zucker, according to CNN’s Oliver Darcy.

So, fibbing about getting the COVID-19 vaccine will get you fired at CNN. But, what if you were a prime-time network host who was advising the governor of New York? The network may call you out on it, but you’ll keep your job! Or, how about if you inadvertently masturbated in front of employees on a Zoom call at The New Yorker? Nope, you’ll be back on TV within a matter of months!

An Aug. 5 memo written by Zucker alerted CNN’s staff that the network had discovered three employees that were coming into the office were unvaccinated and had been terminated, Darcy posted on Twitter. However, the portion of the memo that Darcy highlighted did not provide any information on how the network, which was allegedly operating on an honor system, ascertained the actual vaccination status of the three now-fired employees. However, the memo did state that CNN was considering scrapping the honor system for forcing employees to provide formal proof of vaccination.

While CNN is taking the COVID-19 vaccination status seriously, other unethical behavior from powerful members of its newsroom is being met with a slap on the wrist.

CNN host Chris Cuomo, who hosts Cuomo Prime Time, regularly interviewed his brother, soon-to-be former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on his show and praised his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris was able to interview his brother because CNN decided to put a pause on a 2013 policy that forbade Chris from interviewing Andrew on the air to avoid conflicts of interest. Chris went on to interview the governor of New York more than ten times, according to a Washington Post op-ed.

During one of these interviews featuring the two brothers in late May, Chris joked with his brother about getting a COVID-19 test during one of the governor’s Emmy-winning COVID-19 press briefings, and made fun of his brother’s large nose by holding up a giant cotton swab and asking if the nurse had to use it to test him.

While this may have been fun and games for Chris and Andrew, COVID-19 was no joke for the people of New York — especially its nursing home residents. Less than two weeks before this interview, Andrew decided to rescind a March 25, 2020 executive order that essentially forced nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients. It was also less than a week after the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) reported on May 15 that the Cuomo administration was undercounting an unknown number of nursing home deaths. But, Chris thought it was more pertinent to joke about his brother’s nose than ask tough questions about this emerging scandal, and give his brother a chance to respond.

Subsequent reporting in February 2021 revealed that while the nursing home executive order was still active, more than 9,000 COVID-19 recovering nursing home residents were placed back in their nursing homes, according to The Associated Press. Now, the number of deaths that have occurred in New York nursing homes is over 15,000. Other reports revealed that the Cuomo administration was attempting to cover up this scandal by withholding COVID-19 nursing home data from New York legislators out of fear of federal prosecution, according to the New York Post.

Once the dam finally broke and the corporate media realized the extent of the nursing home scandal, CNN reimposed Chris’ ban on interviewing his brother, but explained why they ever made an exemption in the first place. “The early months of the pandemic crisis were an extraordinary time,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement to The Washington Post. “We felt that Chris speaking with his brother about the challenges of what millions of American families were struggling with was of significant human interest.”

All things considered, Chris may have been lucky that CNN decided to reimpose the ban on interviewing his brother because, not long after, multiple women came out and accused the New York governor of sexual harassment and sexual assault. After Andrew’s third accuser came forward, Chris addressed why he was not covering this story on this show.

“Obviously, I am aware of what is going on with my brother. 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 wanted to tell you that,” Chris said to open his March 8 broadcast.

Andrew’s number of accusers didn’t stop at three, however. Several more women came forward accusing the governor of inappropriate comments, touching and kissing. As Andrew tried to weather the storms that now surrounded him, he had Chris on several conference calls with aides and advisers on how to respond, according to The Washington Post.

CNN told The Washington Post in a statement that Chris would not be disciplined for his actions, but that “it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges.”

On the May 20 broadcast of Prime Time, Chris addressed consulting his brother on the sexual assault scandals. “My family means everything to me. And I am fiercely loyal to them. I am family first, job second,” Chris said. (RELATED: What Does It Take To Actually Get Fired By CNN?)

However, a Monday report from The Washington Post claimed that Chris did, in fact, continue to advise his brother on how to address these scandals, which ultimately led to Andrew’s resignation as New York’s governor. While Chris is currently on vacation, CNN has not said that he will be punished for continuing to advise his brother when he told the network and his audience he wouldn’t.

CNN’s decision to not punish Chris isn’t much of a surprise, given their history of allowing some of their big talents off the hook. In June, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin finally got his to return on CNN after taking leave following termination from The New Yorker. And, this wasn’t even the first time Toobin was caught up in a sexual scandal while at CNN. In 2009, Toobin had an affair with the daughter of one of his CNN colleagues, attorney Casey Greenfield, who later gave birth to a child. Toobin reportedly tried to get her to abort and denied paternity until he was forced to pay child support by a judge.