Former CNN staffers say Zucker’s relationship with colleague was an ‘open secret’

Former CNN employees are openly alleging that Jeff Zucker‘s “consensual relationship” with a colleague, which he said he failed to disclose in his resignation memo on Wednesday, was an “open secret” for years. 

Zucker admitted in his resignation that he had a relationship with CNN chief marketing officer Allison Gollust, who previously served as an aide for former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D.

“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 to staffers shared by CNN’s Brian Stelter. 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 08: Chairman, WarnerMedia Jeff Zucker attends CNN Heroes at American Museum of Natural History on December 08, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 08: Chairman, WarnerMedia Jeff Zucker attends CNN Heroes at American Museum of Natural History on December 08, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

JEFF ZUCKER OUT AT CNN AFTER FAILING TO DISCLOSE ‘CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIP’ WITH COLLEAGUE: ‘I WAS WRONG’

Former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, who left the network in 2013, described the relationship as an “open secret” in response to Stelter announcing he and his colleagues were “stunned” by Zucker’s news.

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Gollust shared a statement as well, saying she “regrets” she and Zucker did not disclose their relationship “at the right time,” adding that only “recently” had their relationship developed. O’Brien disputed the comment and encouraged her followers to do some digging of their own to discover the relationship between Zucker and Gollust dated back years.

Former CNN boss Jeff Zucker's final years were marked by controversy. (Getty Images)

Former CNN boss Jeff Zucker’s final years were marked by controversy. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Former CNN political analyst Roland S. Martin said he was only at the network “for four months in 2013 and knew” about the relationship.

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CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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)

Zucker’s exit comes after months of scandal for the left-leaning network. Zucker fired Chris Cuomo, whose primetime show consistently pulled in the network’s highest ratings, in December when a second misconduct allegation against him surfaced amid an investigation into his involvement with his brother’s political operation. 

A spokesperson for Chris Cuomo said the former anchor and CNN boss Jeff Zucker had "no secrets" regarding his involvement in protecting his scandal-plagued big brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images)

A spokesperson for Chris Cuomo said the former anchor and CNN boss Jeff Zucker had “no secrets” regarding his involvement in protecting his scandal-plagued big brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images)
(Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images  |  CNN)

Before his departure, reports revealed Cuomo had also used his media connections to help his brother Andrew Cuomo through sexual harassment allegations before he ultimately resigned as New York governor. 

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CNN also came under fire for other shocking revelations involving staffers. “New Day” senior producer John Griffin was terminated following an arrest in December and was charged by a grand jury in Vermont “with three counts of using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity.” Rick Saleeby, a former senior producer for Jake Tapper’s “The Lead,” offered his resignation before it was revealed he was under criminal investigation by the Fairfax County (Va.) Police Department “into serious allegations involving potential juvenile victims.” 

Fox News’ Brian Flood and David Rutz contributed to this report.

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