CNN on Saturday fired Chris Cuomo, effective immediately, following revelations the prominent anchor helped his brother, Andrew Cuomo, respond to sexual harassment allegations that forced him to resign as governor of New York earlier this year.
“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,” Chris Cuomo said in a statement he tweeted following CNN’s announcement. “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.”
Cuomo was suspended earlier this week when new documents released by the New York attorney general’s office revealed he had advised his brother’s defense more than had been previously recognized. Among other revelations, the documents showed the anchor helped Andrew Cuomo’s office craft official statements in response to the allegations.
In its statement, CNN said it retained a “respected law firm” to conduct a review of the situation after which “additional information has come to light.”
“Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate,” the network added.
The Cuomo family has long been a politically powerful entity, with Mario Cuomo, the brothers’ late father, serving three terms as New York’s governor in the 1980s and ‘90s. Andrew Cuomo stepped down in August 2021 after multiple reports came to light alleging sexual misconduct.
“Given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let the government get back to governing,” he said at the time.
Chris Cuomo’s audience ratings soared after the “Cuomo Prime Time” anchor contracted Covid in 2020, continuing to broadcast as he recovered from the virus. He also first interviewed his then-governor brother on CNN as New York grappled with the pandemic, drawing criticism over a potential conflict of interest. The network drew further flak for its handling of Chris Cuomo’s anchorship after the Andrew Cuomo allegations came to light.
Following Chris Cuomo’s suspension, Brian Stelter, CNN’s chief media correspondent, suggested on-air that the anchor might return within the next month. Stelter described him as being “on the bench” and called the relationship with his brother a “complicated situation.”
On Saturday, following the anchor’s formal termination, Stelter said Chris Cuomo “was in the virtual war room trying to defend his brother in ways that were journalistically improper.” Regarding the “additional information” that came to light from the law firm’s investigation, Stelter said, “We don’t know what that is. Presumably CNN management knows what that is but the newsroom does not and nobody else does either.”
Of Chris Cuomo’s career, Stelter said: “Television anchors do come and go, but Cuomo was a larger than life presence on this network and there’s going to be a lot of feelings in the days to come.”
Chris Cuomo began hosting “Cuomo Prime Time” in 2017 after co-hosting a morning show at CNN. Before starting at CNN, he was a correspondent at Fox News and ABC. He was embedded in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq while covering the George W. Bush-era war on terror.