Fired host Chris Cuomo threw CNN President Jeff Zucker under the bus, suggesting on Sunday that his boss knew all about his involvement in trying to quash his governor brother’s sex scandal.
A spokesman for the fallen TV star tried to blame Zucker, who first hired him and then promoted him to prime time, while insisting he “has the highest level of admiration and respect” for him, despite his termination last week.
“They were widely known to be extremely close and in regular contact, including about the details of Mr. Cuomo’s support for his brother,” the spokesman told the Wall Street Journal of Cuomo’s shady support for then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo amid his sexual-assault scandal.
“There were no secrets about this, as other individuals besides Mr. Cuomo can attest,” the spokesman added.
While Zucker had stood by Cuomo for months amid calls for his firing, the final straw reportedly came when a trove of documents showed the host’s behind-the-scenes meddling to help out his embattled brother went far beyond what he had admitted on-air. Insiders told The Post the journalist was canned after CNN learned of new allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
CNN denied the claims in Cuomo’s latest statement.
“He has made a number of accusations that are patently false,” the network told the WSJ.
“This reinforces why he was terminated for violating our standards and practices, as well as his lack of candor.”
Zucker had long been one of Cuomo’s biggest champions at the network, having hired him as one of his first major moves after arriving there in 2013 and then promoting him to prime time in 2018, the WSJ noted.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he even called Cuomo “the perfect cable news anchor.”
That allegiance initially continued even as others at the network called for the star’s firing when it first became clear he had meddled in his brother’s scandal while still hosting his show.
In a virtual town hall with staffers in May, Zucker conceded that Cuomo had “made a mistake” but said suspending him would be “punishment for the sake of punishing,” the WSJ said.
Cuomo was eventually suspended and then fired after documents released by New York State Attorney General Letitia James showed he contacted news industry sources for information and sought details about at least one of his brother’s accusers.
At the same time, Cuomo was also accused of misleading viewers with his on-air statements of support of victims of sexual harassment — even though he was accused by a former colleague of being a harasser.
“Hearing the hypocrisy of Chris Cuomo’s on-air words and disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women, my client retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN,” Debra Katz, a lawyer for the anonymous accuser, told the WSJ.
Cuomo has denied allegations of sexual misconduct, which CNN said it would investigate “as appropriate.”