CNN host Chris Cuomo advised his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on how to handle the sexual harassment allegations from former members of his staff and other women, The Washington Post reports.
Chris Cuomo joined a series of conference calls with his brother and his top aides after multiple women accused Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment.
Chris Cuomo encouraged his brother to “defiant position and not to resign from the governor’s office” and at one point “used the phrase ‘cancel culture’ as a reason to hold firm in the face of the allegations,” according to the report.
“Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes,” CNN said in a statement. “In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother.”
“However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges,” the statement added. “He will not participate in such conversations going forward.”
Chris Cuomo apologizes:
“Now today there are stories out there about me offering my brother advice,” Cuomo said on his CNN show Thursday. ”Of course I do. This is no revelation. I have said it publicly and I certainly have never hidden it. I can be objective on just about any topic but not about my family.”
“But being a journalist and a brother to a politician is unique and a unique challenge and I have a unique responsibility to balance those roles,” he continued. “It’s not always easy, but people can say and write what they want, but I want you to know the truth.”
He acknowledged that his role was a mistake.
“When my brother’s situation became turbulent, being looped into calls with other friends of his, and advisers that did include some of his staff, I understand why that was a problem for CNN,” he said. “It will not happen again.”
“It was a mistake because I put my colleagues here, who I believe are the best in the business, in a bad spot. I never intended for that, I would never intend for that and I’m sorry for that.”
“If you are actively advising a politician in trouble while being an on-air host on a news network, that’s not okay,” Columbia journalism professor Nicholas Lemann told the Post.
"Stop and think about what happened here," said Tom Jones of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. "The host of a primetime show on one of the country’s biggest and most influential cable news networks is advising one of the most powerful and influential politicians in this country on how to handle serious sexual misconduct allegations. This is highly inappropriate for a journalist.”