CNN will not pay severance pay to Chris Cuomo; HarperCollins Releases Former Presenter’s Next Book

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Chris Cuomo will not get severance pay from CNN and has lost a publishing deal for an upcoming book, the latest fallout from the former CNN presenter’s involvement in helping his brother, the former governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, to respond to allegations of sexual harassment.

In a virtual town hall with employees on Tuesday, CNN chairman Jeff Zucker said the network would not pay Mr. Cuomo compensation, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr Zucker also said he wished Chris Cuomo had taken a leave of absence in May when allegations he had been in strategy sessions with his brother first surfaced.

CNN President Jeff Zucker, speaking in Barcelona, ​​Spain, in 2018, told a city hall worker on Tuesday that he wished Chris Cuomo had taken a leave of absence in May when allegations against him surfaced. surfaced for the first time.


Photo:

lluis gene / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

Also on Tuesday, HarperCollins Publishers said its Custom House imprint had canceled “Deep Denial,” Chris Cuomo’s upcoming book. A description on Amazon.com Inc. called the book a “provocative analysis of the hard truths that the pandemic and the Trump years have revealed about America.” HarperCollins Publishers and The Wall Street Journal are both owned by News Corp.

A spokesperson for Mr. Cuomo made no comment on CNN’s decision and did not respond to a request for comment on the HarperCollins decision.

Mr Cuomo also lost his Sirius XM Holdings weekday radio show. Inc.,

what he said on Monday that he ended up focusing on the next steps.

CNN fired Chris Cuomo on Saturday after a review of files released last week by New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office which showed the presenter had played a bigger role than previously known to help his brother , including checking with sources to find out if any stories about Andrew Cuomo’s accusers were forthcoming and giving detailed commentary on his brother’s statements to the media. A law firm told CNN that the network had reason to fire Mr. Cuomo after he said the presenter violated network standards and practices.

At Tuesday’s town hall, Zucker said CNN had yet to make a decision on who would succeed Cuomo at 9 p.m., adding that the network would take several considerations into account, including on-air diversity. .

Mr. Zucker also answered questions about his decision-making process regarding Mr. Cuomo. He said that in May he berated the anchor and warned him against repeating a similar offense. Mr Zucker also said during the question-and-answer session that when Ms James’ office released documents on the Andrew Cuomo investigation last week, CNN executives were caught off guard.

“Chris went further than he told me and told the rest of our management team,” Zucker said.

Andrew Cuomo resigned as governor of New York earlier this year after a report from Ms James’ office that said he sexually harassed several women in violation of state and federal laws, created an environment of hostile work and retaliated against at least one former employee. Andrew Cuomo said he never touched anyone inappropriately.

Chris Cuomo apologized for counseling his brother, who was involved in an important story CNN was covering. A spokesperson for Mr. Cuomo said in a text message on Sunday: “Mr. Cuomo has the highest level of admiration and respect for Mr. Zucker. They were widely known to be extremely close and in regular contact, including over the details of Mr. Cuomo’s support for his brother. There was no secret about it, as people other than Mr. Cuomo can attest.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned in mid-August, a week after a state report revealed he had sexually harassed several women. His resignation cuts short a controversial third term as governor. Cuomo has denied all allegations of sexual harassment. Photo: Office of the Governor of New York (Video of 08/21/21)

CNN said in a written statement on Sunday that it was disappointed with Mr. Cuomo’s characterization of the events. “He made a number of accusations which are patently false,” the network said. “It reinforces the reason he was fired for violating our standards and practices, as well as his lack of candor.”

Chris Cuomo’s sacking leaves a hole in CNN’s prime-time programming block. Like other cable news networks, CNN suffered a drop in viewership in 2021 compared to the previous year, when the turbulent 2020 presidential election and its aftermath drove ratings to new levels. tops. As it grapples with a drop in viewership on traditional TV, the network is launching a streaming service – CNN + – that aims to catapult the network into the direct-to-consumer era by presenting shows with some of its top journalists.

CNN’s parent company, AT&T Inc.

is preparing to merge its media assets with those held by Discovery Inc.

Media mogul John Malone, one of Discovery’s major shareholders, told CNBC in an interview in November that he wanted to see CNN “really have reporters” and “go back to the kind of journalism it started with.” .

Write to Benjamin Mullin at [email protected]

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