NYT: CNN Fired Chris Cuomo After Learning Of Alleged Sexual Assault In His ABC Office With Young Temp In 2011

(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

The New York Times reported Wednesday that former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo was fired after outlet executives learned of an alleged sexual assault that took place years earlier while Cuomo was working with ABC News.

The alleged incident occurred back in 2011 when a young temp employee, referred to as Jane Doe, hoping for a full time position at ABC snagged a lunch meeting with Cuomo after he reportedly offered her career advice. The NYT reported there are emails, a letter and the woman’s testimony to corroborate the meeting.

When Doe arrived at the meeting, there was no food, the NYT reported. Instead, Doe alleges Cuomo asked for sex and after she rejected his request he allegedly assaulted her before she fled the room. In a bid to smooth things over, Doe reportedly sent Cuomo several friendly emails.

Five friends and former colleagues told the NYT that Doe confided to them about Cuomo’s alleged sexual advances. The alleged victim said she only recently clarified that Cuomo also assaulted her because it was too painful to recount, according to the NYT.

Then in the midst of the #MeToo movement, Cuomo allegedly reached out to Doe out of nowhere, according to the NYT. (RELATED: Trump Gloats That Jeff Zucker’s ‘Stench’ Is ‘Finally Leaving’ CNN)

“After years without any substantive communication from Mr. Cuomo whatsoever, Ms. Doe suspected he was concerned about her coming forward publicly with her allegations and wanted to use the proposed segment as an opportunity to ‘test the waters’ and discourage her from going on the record about his sexual misconduct,” Debra S. Katz, a sexual harassment lawyer wrote, according to the NYT.

The NYT says it reviewed messages exchanged between Doe and Cuomo, and spoke to Doe’s boss at the time, who said after the segment aired, Doe confided about the alleged incident.

Katz said Doe was “deeply traumatized” but does not want to be “a pawn in an internecine war between Zucker, Chris Cuomo and CNN” and “requests privacy.”

So how did this allegation lead to Cuomo’s firing?

On Nov. 30 former CNN President Jeff Zucker called Cuomo into a meeting along with CNN’s chief marketing officer and Zucker’s secret partner, Allison Gollust, to inform the anchor he was suspended over his interactions with his brother, disgraced former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the NYT reported.

The NYT reported that Katz sent a letter to CNN on Dec. 1 alleging an “abuse of power at CNN to attempt to silence [Doe].”

Two days after Katz sent the letter, a lawyer for CNN was reportedly working to give Katz evidence corroborating Doe’s allegations. That’s when Cuomo was suddenly fired.

And while Cuomo’s spokesperson, Steven Goldberg vehemently denied the allegations and claimed Cuomo was never “given an opportunity to respond,” according to the report, Zucker reportedly fired Cuomo out of fear that Doe’s allegations could bring down the network.

Hours later, Cuomo retained Hollywood litigator Bryan Freedman, who sent a letter to CNN on Dec. 5 telling the network to preserve any and all documents relating to any CNN employee and anyone in the governor’s office, according to the report.

Less than two months later, Zucker abruptly announced his resignation, citing a “consensual relationship with my closest colleague” that he was “required to disclose” at the time it began but failed to do so. Zucker said he was questioned about the relationship as part of CNN’s investigation into Cuomo’s scandal.

CNN’s media correspondent Brian Stelter claimed Cuomo was allegedly planning on revealing “incriminating information” about Zucker prior to his resignation.

“[Cuomo] was trying to burn the place down. He was going to court trying to burn the place down and claiming that he had incriminating information about Zucker and Gollust.”

“So, if that’s the case, if this is a domino effect that begins with Andrew Cuomo, going down in the governor’s office, and then Chris Cuomo being fired from CNN, and then Jeff Zucker losing his job at CNN, that has a remarkable domino effect, a chain of events. I think that is part of the story,” Stelter said.

Gollust, who once served as the communications director for Gov. Cuomo, announced her resignation Tuesday. Time Warner CEO Jason Kilar said following the network’s investigation, they found “violations of Company policies, including CNN’s News Standards and Practices, by Jeff Zucker, Allison Gollust, and Chris Cuomo.”

Cuomo released a statement late Tuesday night that both Zucker and Gollust were “not only entirely aware but fully supportive of what he was doing to help his brother.”

“The still open question is when Warner Media is going to release the results of its investigation and explain its supposed basis for terminating Mr. Cuomo,” the statement, obtained by Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Mullin said.