CNN host Chris Cuomo has been suspended indefinitely by the network because of new revelations of help he gave his brother Andrew during the latter’s sexual harassment scandal. The news will mean an expanded role for out anchor Anderson Cooper.
Andrew Cuomo resigned as governor of New York in August after the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, released a report that found the harassment accusations credible and indicated the governor retaliated against at least one accuser. Chris Cuomo has apologized for advising his brother’s aides during the investigation, but additional evidence released Monday by James “revealed that the anchor’s role had been more intimate and involved than previously known,” The New York Times reports.
“The New York Attorney General's office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother's defense,” a CNN spokesperson said Tuesday. "The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions."
"When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother's staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly," the spokesperson added. "But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second."
"However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother's efforts than we previously knew," the spokesperson continued. "As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation."
Cuomo Prime Time fills CNN’s 9 p.m. slot Monday through Friday, following Anderson Cooper 360 at 8 p.m. Cooper’s broadcast will be extended Tuesday night to cover the Cuomo slot, CNN announced. Further plans were not disclosed. Don Lemon Tonight is still slated to air in the 10 p.m. slot.
The new details about Chris Cuomo’s assistance to his brother include offering to see if other news outlets were working on stories about the scandal and to help prepare the governor and his staff, the Times reports. Chris Cuomo ignored the matter on his Monday night broadcast, instead discussing other news of the day and talking about his admiration for singer Tony Bennett.
The Cuomo scandal embroiled some high-profile LGBTQ+ activists. Alphonso David was fired as president of the Human Rights Campaign because he had assisted Andrew Cuomo in his response — before joining HRC, he had been the governor’s in-house counsel, but he was working at HRC when Cuomo's staff tapped him for help. Roberta Kaplan, the attorney known for marriage equality activism, stepped down as board cochair at Time’s Up, an organization that assists survivors of harassment, because of her role in advising the governor’s team.
Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, was known as an LGBTQ+ ally. Kathy Hochul, the lieutenant governor who moved up to take his place, is an ally as well.