Sexual harassment victims praised CNN’s long-delayed indefinite suspension of host Chris Cuomo Tuesday for helping his brother — disgraced ex-three term Gov. Andrew Cuomo — fight their accusations.
“I am just thinking of all the women in this fight. And I am sending them all love and appreciation,” said Lindsey Boylan, a former executive staffer to the governor who was the first to accuse Andrew Cuomo of harassment.
“That is where I find strength,” Boylan tweeted. “You have sustained and guided me from the beginning.”
Media critics, meanwhile, said CNN’s benching of Chris Cuomo should have occurred months ago, when investigative reports first revealed the anchor was deeply involved in aiding his brother’s response to harassment accusations — including strategy sessions with Andrew Cuomo’s inner circle.
“CNN has suspended @ChrisCuomo indefinitely, pending further evaluation.’ The problem with this statement is the assertion that CNN wasn’t `privy” to the documents that were released by NY AG Letitia James,” tweeted Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple.
“Technically, that’s true. However, it suggests that, somehow, CNN lacked the authority or the leverage to do an investigation of its own. But it did, all along: Chris Cuomo, after all, is a CNN employee,” Wemple tweeted.
“The problem wasn’t access to documents. It was CNN’s willingness to investigate a famous prime-time host in whom it had invested millions — and who had a close relationship with CNN President Jeff Zucker. So that’s what I think about all this `privy nonsense.”
Tweeted Washington Post politics writer Dave Weigel: “If some news channel intern did what Chris Cuomo did they’d have been fired one second after these docs were published.”
Karen Hinton, a former aide to Andrew Cuomo when he was federal HUD secretary and who accused him of inappropriately touching her years ago, tweeted, “Suspended; ousted; outed, and Andrew Cuomo just resigned. They followed their leader until he pushed them all off the cliff, collecting a book deal and pension in the meantime.”
Janice Dean, a nursing home advocate who accused the former governor of enacting policies that contributed to coronavirus-related deaths to frail elderly residents tweeted, “Now that he’s suspended indefinitely, @ChrisCuomo still needs to apologize to everyone. Especially the women his brother abused, harassed and assaulted. ”
Chris Cuomo not only participated in numerous strategy sessions with his brother’s senior team and checked with journalistic sources to sniff out if and when damaging stories about the governor would appear — including a piece by Pulitzer prize winning reporter Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker magazine.
Chris Cuomo’s own testimony contradicts what he told his CNN viewers back in August when he said, “I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation.”
CNN’s action against Chris Cuomo came on the heels of a withering criticism that they were condoning unethical journalistic behavior because of his powerful family name.
“Andrew Cuomo’s resignation as governor of New York might have been a godsend for CNN. The network faced a nearly intractable conflict of interest,” said David Graham of the Atlantic magazine.
“The governor was a major national figure, but his brother, Chris, was also one of CNN’s prime-time stars. Instead, the fallout from Andrew Cuomo’s departure has made Chris Cuomo’s position untenable. He should resign; if he doesn’t, CNN should sack him.”
Margaret Kimberly, editor of the Black Agenda Report noted how CNN allowed Chris Cuomo to do softball interviews with Andrew during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
“CNN allowed Chris Cuomo to interview his governor brother and give him a tongue bath. He still works at CNN. Will they fire him now?” Kimberly asked in a tweet.
Other journalists claimed Chris’ significant strategic role in his brother’s war room response breached ethical boundaries.
CNN rival Fox News found a plethora of other journalists who agreed it’s time for CNN to give Chris Cuomo the heave-ho.
“This is an embarrassment to journalism,” said Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce.
“If this story is accurate, it describes a series of shocking ethical breaches — fireable offenses at any other news outlet,” Rolling Stone editor-in-chief Noah Schachtman tweeted.
Columbia Journalism School professor Bill Grueskin also wagged his finger at CNN.
“It’s hard to imagine any news executive keeping Chris Cuomo on staff after today’s revelations. Then again, as CNN likes to say, ‘THIS is CNN,’” Grueskin tweeted.
“How many second/third/fourth chances is this guy going to get?” The Times-Picayune, The New Orleans Advocate columnist Stephanie Grace asked.