Calls are growing for CNN to part ways with embattled host Chris Cuomo after a plethora of new ethical concerns over the “Cuomo Prime Time” namesake’s extensive involvement in defending his big brother amid his sexual harassment scandal.
The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday publicly released transcripts and exhibits from her investigation into now-former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, and the documents include the CNN host’s sworn testimony to investigators, in which he admitted to using his media industry connections to dig up information on his brother’s accusers and reporters trying to cover the scandal.
Newly released evidence also included damning text messages in which Cuomo offered advice to the staff of his beleaguered big brother. The shocking batch of evidence indicates Cuomo crossed boundaries of journalism ethics but also misled CNN viewers when he claimed he didn’t contact reporters on the ex-governor’s behalf.
Critics across the media landscape have since called for CNN to finally dump the long-troubled host.
“Cuomo’s antics show that CNN cannot have it both ways — pretending that he, and others like him, is a news anchor when he is clearly an activist,” a former CNN staffer who worked directly with Cuomo told Fox News Digital.
UltraViolet, a leading national gender-justice organization, called for CNN to immediately fire Cuomo.
“Reports that Chris Cuomo not only joined strategy calls with his brother, former Governor Andrew Cuomo, on how to respond to the numerous sexual harassment allegations against him, but actively advised his brother to push back against the allegations, using his position at CNN to seek information on the accusers, are completely unacceptable. He should be fired immediately,” UltraViolet said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“This wasn’t just brothers talking about their lives, or even about politics. This was a major network news anchor actively working to support the former Governor of New York in pushing back against sexual harassment allegations and denegrating survivors of abuse. Chris Cuomo leveraged his position as a CNN anchor to manipulate sources and seek information about his brother’s accusers. This a severe breach of journalistic ethics,” UltraViolet continued. “CNN should immediately sever ties with Chris Cuomo. Anything less is unacceptable, and further harms survivors of sexual abuse.”
Liberal publication The Atlantic published a story headlined simply, “Chris Cuomo Must Go,” which declared “new revelations show the CNN anchor betrayed his obligation to his viewers.”
“He should resign; if he doesn’t, CNN should sack him,” The Atlantic’s David A. Graham wrote. “By keeping Cuomo on the air and in his job, CNN would send the message that journalistic ethics are only for the little people and viewers are on their own.”
However, Cuomo appeared on his 9 p.m. ET show on Monday night, only a few hours after the bombshell documents were released, and went about his business as if nothing was going on. He didn’t bother to mention the news to viewers.
Poynter Institute senior media writer Tom Jones also questioned if Cuomo can keep his cushy gig.
“We already knew that CNN’s prime-time anchor was involved in helping his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, combat sexual harassment allegations that eventually forced him out of office. But now, it turns out, Chris Cuomo was even more involved than we originally thought,” Jones wrote. “And if true, Cuomo cannot possibly keep his job, can he?”
Jones also asked, “How would you feel if you were a woman at CNN and a powerful employee at that company was trying to help someone, even if it was his brother, defuse and overcome allegations of disturbing sexual misconduct?”
Fox News Digital reached out to several prominent women who work for CNN but none were willing to comment on the record.
Slate was unsubtle, writing, “It’s Time for CNN to Can Chris Cuomo for Being Completely Full of Crap.”
“There are at least three things going on here that tend to destroy Chris Cuomo’s credibility as a news anchor. The first is that he was using his position as a journalist to attempt to feed information to the subject of a major ongoing news story. The second is that he was encouraging his brother’s administration to pursue baseless smears against other journalists and their sources. The third is that he was at least somewhat deceptive on air about the thrust of his advice, which does not at all seem to have been geared toward honesty or contrition,” Slate’s Ben Mathis-Lilley wrote.
Meghan McCain blasted CNN in a scathing Daily Mail column that listed multiple examples of “inexcusable journalistic behavior” that Cuomo has exhibited in recent memory, including an infamous spat he had with a complete stranger when he was supposed to be home quarantining during his battle with coronavirus.
“I haven’t been able to figure out why Chris Cuomo is still employed in mainstream media for a very long time but, if there were any doubt, here we are yet again with another glaring example of why he is unfit to anchor an evening news show on a major cable network,” McCain wrote.
“There is no anchor at CNN, no woman in the media, no one who would be treated the same way Chris Cuomo is being treated. There is no one who could possibly get away with this egregious journalistic malpractice. I for one am absolutely sick of it,” she continued. “Our country needs real, unbiased journalists, not hacks who use their platforms to push their agenda of their politics and their families. There shouldn’t be a place for this. People in this industry have been fired for much less than anything Chris Cuomo has done.”
CNN itself has even admitted the damning transcripts and exhibits deserve “a thorough review and consideration” after months of standing by the scandal-plagued anchor.
“We will be having conversations and seeking additional clarity about their significance as they relate to CNN over the next several days,” CNN said in a statement.
Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple feels CNN’s admission that documents related to Cuomo need to be investigated is “also an admission of failure at the highest levels of network leadership.”
“They could have investigated this matter months ago and chose not to,” Wemple added.
Meanwhile, Twitter is loaded with verified journalism professionals pondering why Cuomo still has a job at any news organization.
“Chris Cuomo should’ve stepped down or taken a leave of absence to help his brother. Instead, he kept his show and blatantly lied about what happened. It’s time to #FireChrisCuomo,” Media Research Center Founder Brent Bozell wrote.
Columbia Journalism School’s Bill Grueskin wrote, “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,” while Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce declared, “This is an embarrassment to journalism.”
“Incredibly unethical,” Mississippi Free Press reporter Ashton Pittman similarly tweeted.
Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel added, “If some news channel intern did what Chris Cuomo did they’d have been fired one second after these docs were published.”
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn and David Rutz contributed to this report.