The Cuomo brothers are back under fire following reports that the CNN host advised his brother during the scandals surrounding the governor’s administration, raising brand-new ethics concerns.
This week, it was revealed that CNN anchor Chris Cuomo advised New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to cite “cancel culture” and to resist calls for his resignation amid sexual harassment allegations from at least seven women.
According to a Washington Post report, the CNN anchor joined a series of conference calls with his brother, top aides, and lawyers in the Cuomo administration to provide advice to the three-term governor as calls mounted for him to step away from his office in Albany.
“The cable news anchor encouraged his brother to take a defiant position and not to resign from the governor’s office,” sources told the Washington Post. "At one point, he used the phrase 'cancel culture' as a reason to hold firm in the face of the allegations, two people present on one call said.”
The news of the Cuomos collaborating on a strategy has drawn criticism from many, including his employer, which admitted his involvement in his younger brother’s strategy sessions.
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“Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on-air or behind the scenes,” the network said in a statement. “In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother.
“However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges,” the statement added. “He will not participate in such conversations going forward.”
Chris Cuomo issued an on-air apology on Thursday, May 20, acknowledging that it was inappropriate, while stating that he has “a unique responsibility” balancing his job as a journalist and brother.
“It will not happen again,” he said. “It was a mistake because I put my colleagues here, who I believe are the best in the business, in a bad spot.”
The report states that former and current administration officials said the anchor played an active role early in the governor’s coronavirus strategy, suggesting providers for the state to secure protective equipment.
“The governor only trusts about five people,” one adviser with knowledge of the strategy sessions said. “So that’s why Chris is on these calls.”
“There’s a general sense of frustration,” one on-air reporter, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal conversations said in the Post report. “I don’t think anyone was surprised they spoke about this, given they are family, but calls with lawyers and staff . . . wow.”
Earlier this year, Cuomo was taken off of coverage of his brother on CNN after having him as a guest repeatedly during the beginning of the pandemic before scandals began surrounding the governor.
“Obviously, I am aware of what is going on with my brother," Cuomo said in March. "And obviously I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now, of course, CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and they will continue to do so. I have always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so. I just want to tell you that."
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