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CNN fires Chris Cuomo for role in fighting brother's sexual harassment scandal

CNN has fired anchor Chris Cuomo after documents were released detailing his efforts to help his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, respond to a sexual harassment scandal.
Michael Loccisano
Getty Images for CNN
CNN has fired anchor Chris Cuomo after documents were released detailing his efforts to help his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, respond to a sexual harassment scandal.

Updated December 4, 2021 at 8:34 PM ET

CNN has fired Chris Cuomo after new revelations detailed the journalist's role in advising his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the face of sexual harassment allegations.

"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," read a statement from the cable news network, which announced the news on Saturday. "We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated him, effective immediately. While in the process of review, additional information as come to light. Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate."

The Cuomo Prime Time host had already been suspended indefinitely as of Tuesday, a day after the New York attorney general's office released a trove of new documents that offered new details on how Cuomo leveraged his industry contacts to dig up information on his brother's accusers.

"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," Cuomo said in a statement after the news broke.

In May, after it emerged that Cuomo had been part of strategy calls with the then-governor's aides on how to respond to sexual harassment allegations, CNN kept its star anchor on air.

The cable news network said at the time that it would not discipline Cuomo, and that the anchor had "not been involved in CNN's extensive coverage of the allegations" against his brother. "He will not participate in such conversations going forward," CNN said.

Cuomo then apologized to viewers for what he said was a mistake. He said that was not an "adviser" but a "brother," and that he took part in conversations with his older brother's aides to offer his "take."

Multiple women have accused the elder Cuomo of making unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate touching and suggestive remarks while in office. Following a five-month independent investigation that substantiated such claims, an August report from New York's attorney general concluded that Andrew Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women. He resigned later that month and now faces state criminal charges and possible civil lawsuits.

"I never attacked nor encouraged anyone to attack any woman who came forward," Chris Cuomotold CNN viewers in August. "I never made calls to the press about my brother's situation."

But recent transcripts and text messages released on Monday show that Cuomo had played a bigger role than previously known in working to defend his brother. The new details, which show Cuomo advising and intervening in PR strategy, add to what some of his colleagues had considered a serious breach in journalistic ethics.

In one message from March, the CNN host asked Melissa DeRosa, then a top aide to the New York governor, to "please let me help with the prep" for his brother's defense.

Chris Cuomo also admitted that he'd attempted to learn more about an upcoming story by journalist Ronan Farrow involving an accuser. Transcripts show Cuomo feeding DeRosa updates regarding Farrow's investigative story.

It's not yet clear who will replace Cuomo in his primetime slot on CNN.

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