CNN's Chris Cuomo secretly advised brother to remain defiant in face of sex harassment allegations

CNN called the star anchor's decision to participate in his brother's strategy meetings a "mistake"

By Brett Bachman
Published May 20, 2021 6:56PM (EDT)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, and his brother, the CNN anchor Chris Cuomo (Getty Images)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, and his brother, the CNN anchor Chris Cuomo (Getty Images)

In the days after several women accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, his brother, the CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, joined a series of calls with senior members of the elder Cuomo's staff and others to strategize how the governor should respond, according to a report.

The 50-year-old cable host advised his brother to remain defiant and not resign, several sources told The Washington Post. At one point, the CNN star even reportedly used the phrase "cancel culture" to describe the situation.

The news is a stunning departure from commonly accepted journalistic norms, which state that those involved with reporting the news should not personally be involved in the events they are covering. 

CNN admitted in a statement that Chris Cuomo participated in the strategy calls for his brother, and called his involvement a "mistake"

"Chris has not been involved in CNN's extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes, 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," the statement reads.

"However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor's staff, which Chris acknowledges. He will not participate in such conversations going forward."

Prior to Thursday's news, Chris Cuomo had already come under fire in 2020 for a series of softball interviews with his brother, one of the most powerful politicians in the country, as his state became the epicenter of a global COVID-19 pandemic. The coverage gave CNN a huge ratings boost.

"Obviously I love you as a brother, obviously I'll never be objective, obviously I think you're the best politician in the country," he said during one of the conversations.

It was later revealed that the younger Cuomo also benefited directly from his sibling's powerful perch in Albany, receiving preferential COVID-19 testing at his Hamptons home from top state officials in charge of the state's pandemic response.

CNN said it will not discipline Chris Cuomo as a result of the news.


Brett Bachman

Brett Bachman is the Nights/Weekend Editor at Salon.

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Andrew Cuomo Brief Cable News Chris Cuomo Cnn #metoo New York Politics Sexual Harassment