In a new statement, a spokesman for the fallen CNN star threw his 'longtime friend' CNN President Jeff Zucker under the bus while maintaining the journalist “has the highest level of admiration and respect” for him.
“They were widely known to be extremely close and in regular contact, including about the details of Mr. Cuomo’s support of his brother,” the spokesman told the Wall Street Journal Sunday of Chris Cuomo’s vague help for his big brother as the governor’s sex scandal has been revealed.
“There were no secrets about this, as other individuals besides Mr. Cuomo can attest,” the spokesman added.
“He has made a number of accusations that are patently false,” the network told the WSJ. “This reinforces why he was terminated for violating our standards and practices, as well as his lack of candor.”
While Zucker had remained with Cuomo for months amid calls for his termination, the final straw reportedly came when a collection of documents revealed that the host’s behind-the-scenes interference to help his embattled brother went far beyond what he had told on-air.
Insiders told The Post the journalist was dismissed after CNN discovered new claims of sexual misconduct against him.
Zucker had long been one of Cuomo’s most significant supporters at the network. He hired Cuomo as one of his first major moves after arriving there in 2013 and then promoting him to prime time in 2018, the WSJ noted.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he even called Cuomo “the perfect cable news anchor.
That devotion continued even as others at the network called for the star’s termination when it first became clear he had meddled in his brother’s scandal while still hosting his show.
In a virtual town hall with staffers in May, Zucker acknowledged that Cuomo had “made a mistake” but said suspending him would be “punishment for the sake of punishing,” the WSJ said.
Cuomo was suspended and then dismissed after reports released by New York Attorney General Letitia James showed he reached news industry sources for information and sought details about at least one of his brother’s accusers.
At the same time, Cuomo was accused of misleading viewers with his on-air statements of support of victims of sexual harassment — even though he was accused of harassment by a former colleague.