CNN fires Chris Cuomo 'effective immediately' for helping with brother's scandal
NEW YORK - CNN has reported that it has fired anchor Chris Cuomo for his role in helping his brother, former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, during his sexual harassment scandal.
The news network said in a statement: "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."
"While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light," CNN's statement added. "Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate."
The network did not immediately release additional details.
Chris Cuomo said on Twitter that he was proud of the work he did at the network.
"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," he said.
RELATED: CNN suspends Chris Cuomo for helping in brother's scandal
CNN first indefinitely suspended Chris Cuomo on Tuesday after details emerged about how he helped his brother to face charges of sexual harassment earlier this year.
The former CNN anchor pressed sources for information on his brother’s accusers and reported back to the governor’s staff, and was active in helping craft their response to the charges, according to emails and a transcript of his testimony to investigators working for state Attorney General Letitia James. Her office found Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women.
Chris Cuomo previously acknowledged talking to his brother and offering advice when the governor faced harassment charges. But the information released Monday revealed far more details about what exactly Chris Cuomo did. Andrew Cuomo resigned in August to avoid a likely impeachment trial.
RELATED: Transcripts highlight Chris Cuomo's role advising brother Andrew Cuomo during scandal
Cuomo’s former program, which aired at 9 p.m. Eastern time on weeknights, averaged 1.3 million viewers, narrowly outpacing Anderson Cooper as CNN’s most popular show, according to the Nielsen company. Like many cable newscasts, viewership was down significantly after being swollen during the election year.
Cuomo appeared on his program on Monday night, talking about COVID-19 and politics without mentioning his own issues.
There was no immediate response to a request for comment sent to Cuomo and the lawyer who represented him during this summer’s testimony.
Anderson Cooper subbed for Cuomo on his show Tuesday.
RELATED: Videos of former NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo sex harassment investigation released
During the first two months of the pandemic, Cuomo interviewed his brother on the air a number of times. It was a hit with viewers, although it violated CNN’s policy of not having Cuomo report on his brother, and was a programming choice that has grown worse with time and additional revelations.
Chris Cuomo frequently consulted with his brother’s aides when Andrew was fighting the charges last May, sometimes disagreeing with their advice.
"This is my brother, and I’m trying to help my brother through a situation where he told me he did nothing wrong," Cuomo testified last July to investigators at the attorney general’s office.
Cuomo, who recently apologized himself after a sexual harassment allegation against him, has insisted he has done nothing to try to influence CNN’s coverage of his brother’s political problems, and that it would be quickly found out if he did.
Cuomo also said he reached out to other journalists to find out whether they were writing stories about his brother, most notably seeking information on what Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker was writing. He acknowledged he didn’t tell CNN he was doing this, and characterized his actions as nothing out of the ordinary for a journalist.
Critics have called on CNN to take action following the attorney general’s release, with David A. Graham of The Atlantic saying Cuomo should resign — or be fired by CNN if he doesn’t.
After it was first revealed last May by The Washington Post that Cuomo had consulted with his brother’s aides, CNN released a statement saying that his actions were inappropriate, but it did not discipline him.
Cuomo, a lawyer, is 13 years younger than Andrew Cuomo, who he has described as his best friend. They are the sons of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who was in office from 1982 to 1996.
He worked for several years at ABC News, joining CNN in 2013 as co-host of the network’s morning show.
A veteran TV executive, Shelley Ross, wrote a column for The New York Times in September saying Cuomo had groped her at a party 16 years ago. Cuomo told the newspaper that "I apologized to her then, and I meant it."
The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported from Los Angeles.