CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s former boss accused him of groping her years earlier and published his apology in an op-ed in The New York Times.
Shelley Ross, a longtime journalist who was Cuomo’s boss at ABC News nearly two decades ago, said that Cuomo sexually harassed her at a network party in 2005 while she was his executive producer.
“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,” she wrote.
Ross claimed that Cuomo told her “I can do this now that you’re not longer my boss.”
“No you can’t,” she recalled telling him, adding that she pushed him away and quickly left with her husband.
Cuomo issued a statement to the Times.
“As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature,” he said. “It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it.”
Ross published an email she received from Cuomo after the incident with the subject line “now that I think of it… I am ashamed.”
Cuomo wrote that his “hearty greeting was a function of being glad to see you.” But he then noted that actor Christian Slater had gotten arrested for a similar act and “as a husband I can empathize with not liking to see my wife patted as such.”
“So pass along my apology to your very good and noble husband… and I apologize to you as well, for even putting you in such a position,” he wrote. “next time, I will remember the lesson.”
“My question today is the same as it was then: Was he ashamed of what he did, or was he embarrassed because my husband saw it?” Ross wrote in the op-ed.
Ross wants Cuomo to use platform for good:
Ross said she has no grudge against the anchor and does not want him to lose his job.
“Rather, this is an opportunity for him and his employer to show what accountability can look like in the MeToo era,” she wrote, citing Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s sexual harassment scandal.
“I’m not asking for Mr. Cuomo to become the next casualty in this continuing terrible story,” she wrote. “I hope he stays at CNN forever if he chooses. I would, however, like to see him journalistically repent: agree on air to study the impact of sexism, harassment and gender bias in the workplace, including his own, and then report on it.”