Former ABC executive producer Shelley Ross accused CNN anchor Chris Cuomo of sexually harassing her at a 2005 party.
Ross, in a Friday guest essay for The New York Times, described the scene as a going away party for a colleague. She had only recently transitioned to a role as the executive producer for an entertainment special, but prior to that, she had been Cuomo’s producer at “Primetime Live.” (RELATED: Why Hasn’t Chris Cuomo Resigned From CNN? The Answer Is Simple)
“At the time, I was the executive producer of an ABC entertainment special, but I was Mr. Cuomo’s executive producer at ‘Primetime Live’ just before that,” Ross explained. “I was at the party with my husband, who sat behind me on an ottoman sipping his Diet Coke as I spoke with work friends. When Mr. Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, he walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock.”
Ross described Cuomo’s tone as “arrogant” and said he told her, “I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss.”
Ross then said that she pushed him away, saying, “No, you can’t.” Her husband had witnessed the entire exchange and the couple left shortly afterward.
But just an hour after leaving the party, Ross said that Cuomo sent her an email offering an apology of sorts.
“[T]hough my hearty greeting was a function of being glad to see you … christian slater got arrested for a (kind of) similar act, (though borne of an alleged negative intent, unlike my own)…and as a husband I can empathize with not liking to see my wife patted as such,” Cuomo’s email reportedly read.
In the subject line of the email, Ross said that Cuomo had said he was “ashamed,” and he asked her to relay his apology to her husband, adding, “I apologize to you as well, for even putting you in such a position.”
Ross went on in her essay to say that she was not hoping to see Cuomo lose his job or his livelihood, only that she hoped he would learn from the experience. She also noted that one of the reasons she had chosen to come forward was learning Cuomo’s role in advising his brother, the former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on how to manage his own accusations of sexual harassment and assault.