On Sunday, it was revealed that star CNN host Chris Cuomo was terminated from his position at the media outlet Saturday evening, days after he was accused of sexual misconduct by a former junior colleague at another news network.
The accusation was brought forth by prominent attorney Debra S. Katz, who is representing the anonymous accuser, according to The New York Times.
Katz said in a statement that she contacted CNN on Wednesday to report that she has a client with sexual misconduct allegations against Chris Cuomo.
"By Friday, I was in discussions with CNN about providing documentary evidence of my client's allegations and making my client available for an interview with CNN's outside counsel," wrote Katz.
"Last night, CNN acted promptly on my client's complaint and fired Mr. Cuomo," she continued.
Cuomo was placed on suspension indefinitely on Nov. 30, following new evidence released by New York Attorney General Letitia James' office that revealed the younger Cuomo had a larger role in advising his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, than previously thought.
Andrew Cuomo resigned back in August following James' report that found he sexually harassed 11 women.
Chris Cuomo was revealed to have been "actively in touch" with his brother's top aide Melissa DeRosa, and gave her full statements to be used by Adnrew Cuomo, as well as leads into his accusers.
"I would – when asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out," Cuomo told investigators.
DeRosa had contacted Cuomo at one point to ask him if he could check with his "sources" about a rumor that Politico was working on a story that included additional accusations against his brother.
"In the wake of public sexual harassment allegations against the former Governor Andrew Cuomo, Chris Cuomo looked directly into the camera and told viewers of Cuomo Prime Time, 'I have always dated very deeply about these issues and profoundly so. I just wanted to tell you that,'" wrote Katz.
"Hearing the hypocrisy of Chris Cuomo's on-air words and disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women, m client retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN," Katz continued. "My client came forward at this time because she felt in sharing her story and related documentation, she could help protect other women."
"She will continue to cooperate with CNN’s investigation into her allegations," she added. "Given the nature of her allegations, she wishes to remain anonymous, and we ask that you respect this decision."
When asked about the new allegation, a CNN spokeswoman said in a statement on Saturday night that the revelations gave cause to terminate Cuomo's position.
"Based on the report we received regarding Chris's conduct with his brother's defense, we had cause to terminate. When new allegations came to us this week, we took them seriously, and saw no reason to delay taking immediate action," the spokesperson said, according to The New York Times.
A spokesman for Cuomo, Steven Goldberg, denied the allegations against Cuomo, saying in a statement to The Times on Saturday: "These apparently anonymous allegations are not true."
Cuomo "fully stands by his on-air statements about his connection to these issues, both professionally and in a profoundly personal way. If the goal in making these false and unvetted accusations was to see Mr. Cuomo punished by CNN, that may explain his unwarranted termination," he added.
Cuomo has previously been accused of sexual harassment by a former colleague.
In a piece written for The New York Times, Shelly Ross, who worked with Cuomo at ABC News, wrote that the former TV personality had squeezed her buttock without permission at an event for a colleague leaving ABC back in 2005, but noted that Cuomo had previously apologized for his behavior that day.
"At the time, I was the executive producer of an ABC entertainment special, but I was Mr. Cuomo's executive producer at 'Primetime Live' just before that," Ross wrote. "I was at the party with my husband, who sat behind me on an ottoman sipping his Diet Coke as I spoke with work friends. When Mr. Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, he walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock."
Ross said that Cuomo told her "I can do this now that you're no longer my boss," with a "kind of cocky arrogance."
Ross noted that soon after the incident, she received an email from Cuomo apologizing for his actions, but questioned: "Was he ashamed of what he did, or was he embarrassed because my husband saw it?"
"[T]hough my hearty greeting was a function of being glad to see you … christian slater got arrested for a (kind of) similar act, (though borne of an alleged negative intent, unlike my own)…and as a husband I can empathize with not liking to see my wife patted as such," Cuomo wrote in his email with the subject line "now that I think of it… I am ashamed…"
"So pass along my apology to your very good and noble husband… and I apologize to you as well, for even putting you in such a position… next time, I will remember the lesson, no matter how happy I am to see you…" Cuomo continued.
Cuomo responded to Ross' statements, telling the New York Times, "As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature. It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it."
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