CNN insiders react to Zucker resignation, claim everyone knew about Gollust relationship

CNN staffers reacted with a combination of shock and indignation Wednesday to the resignation of Jeff Zucker as the network’s president.

CNN insiders told Fox News Digital they were caught off-guard by the announcement, which arrived in their inboxes at 11 a.m. ET. 

“As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo’s tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years. I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong. As a result, I am resigning today,” Zucker wrote in a memo. 

Zucker’s relationship is with CNN marketing chief Allison Gollust, who the now-former CNN boss has been speculated to be involved with for years.

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“I think it’s bulls—,” one CNN insider told Fox News Digital. “I think it’s absurd he has to leave [because] of it.”

Gollust, however, is staying at CNN despite her involvement in the undisclosed relationship. The former Andrew Cuomo staffer was floated as a possible replacement last year for Zucker, whose time at CNN appeared numbered even before his abrupt exit.

“I see it this way – she’s incredibly good at her job,” the CNN insider said. “Technically she’s subordinate. I don’t think she should be fired for it given that. I doubt she’ll stay after a time. But I’m a bit shocked by the people rushing to slam her.” 

CNN media pundit Brian Stelter described the network’s staffers as “stunned” after they received Zucker’s message. CNN host S.E. Cupp also used the word when she tweeted her reaction.

CNN commentator Mary Katharine Ham was chagrined at being asked by reporters yet again to comment on “alleged sexual misdeeds” of men, adding she wished she could comment on higher-brow matters.

Former CNN figures said Wednesday that the relationship between Zucker and Gollust was an “open secret” that even outside people knew about.

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Jeff Zucker and Allison Gollust were seen at a Billy Joel concert in New York City last November. (Photo: Radar/Mega)

Jeff Zucker and Allison Gollust were seen at a Billy Joel concert in New York City last November. (Photo: Radar/Mega)
(Radar/Mega)

“Jeff and Allison have been in a relationship for many years, everyone knew … If they really cared [about] it, he would have been fired ages ago,” a source close to the situation told Fox News Digital.

The hands-on executive was revered by CNN talent as was exemplified when anchor Alisyn Camerota took a moment on the air Wednesday to call Zucker’s departure an “incredible loss.”

“Jeff is a remarkable person and an incredible leader,” Camerota said. “He has this uncanny ability to make, I think, every one of us feel special and valuable in our own way, even though he is managing an international news organization.”

Stelter relayed Zucker’s claim that the relationship with Gollust had recently become romantic, despite the rumors that wasn’t true, adding his sources said WarnerMedia had told Zucker he would be fired if he didn’t step down on his own.

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“I just think it’s so regrettable how it happened … These are two consenting adults who are both executives. That they can’t have a private relationship feels wrong,” Camerota said.

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