Will CNN Suspend Chris Cuomo Stick?

On Tuesday afternoon, the director of CNN Jeff Zucker is holding one of its regular meetings with its 15 direct reports. There was even a special guest at the ceremony, Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who will be The top executive is in charge of CNN as early as mid-2022, assuming federal regulators clear Discovery’s merger with WarnerMedia. But the presence of Zaslav (first report via The Wall Street Journal) is hardly the most notable event at the network’s Hudson Yards headquarters. He just happened to be there one day when CNN was dealing with a Level 5 crisis involving one of its biggest stars.

That crisis culminated with CNN’s announcement on Tuesday night that it was suspending the 9 p.m. host “indefinitely.” Chris Cuomo, the core of its early product line. The decision follows the previous day’s release of text messages and transcripts from the New York attorney general’s office showing that Cuomo had participate more than he had previously admitted in his brother Andrew CuomoThe war room strategy of Andrew and his staff is fighting sexual harassment allegations finally broke its governorship. “The documents,” CNN said in a statement, “which we were not supposed to keep secret before they were released to the public, raise serious questions. When Chris admitted to us that he gave advice to his brother’s employees, he broke our rules, and we admitted it publicly. But we also appreciate his unique position and understand his need to put family first and work second. However, these documents show a greater degree of involvement in the effort of his brother than we previously knew.”

For many CNN journalists, dismayed by the cloud that Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s scandal had gone viral, the punishment was a welcome development. “I think most people are relieved that finally some action has been taken,” one of them told me. “I don’t think anyone really knows what’s going to happen next, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be on the air for a significant amount of time.” Cuomo did not respond to an email seeking comment, and when I reached out to his talent agent on Tuesday, he told me he must “redirect all inquiries to media relations.” via CNN”.

In the hours before CNN’s reprimand was issued, I spent a good amount of Tuesday chatting and texting about the controversy with various people at CNN, the television executive. , agents and the media. There are two different schools of thought. One is that Zucker won’t do anything because it looks like, as one CNN source put it, it’s like he “intended to protect” Cuomo, the creator of some of the noisiest segments and ratings. top of the network. The other is that Zucker can’t Not do something. “I think the management has made peace with Chris as an advisor in a theoretical sense, but reading the gory details is a whole different story,” another CNN source said. (Those details included gathering intelligence on damned stories contained in works from other news agencies and efforts to find information about one of the governor’s accusers.)

The fact that journalists on Twitter doesn’t help call Cuomo’s head, and not just the usual suspects. Cuomo was even lashed out on daytime TV from the servers of To watch. “I understand your tendency to want to help your brother,” says Joy Behar, “But you don’t use your position in the media to help him.” “If he’s reporting this about someone else,” Jane Coaston agreed, “he would say that person should be fired.” Against the backdrop of all this fuss, Zucker consulted throughout the day with his lieutenants. He finally met Cuomo around 5 p.m., and by 6 p.m., the suspension was a misdemeanor. “I didn’t get the impression it was stressful at all,” someone familiar with their direct told me. Cuomo asked if he could address his staff. To me, his demeanor during that meeting was “humility” and “emotional”.

As for what happens next, it’s all still being hashed out. It’s not clear exactly what the CNN review will include, but there are about a thousand pages of documents from the attorney general’s office that need to be thoroughly screened, and it is likely that CNN’s standards and practices department will participate. family. Cuomo’s past behavior is sure to come under increasing media scrutiny; after Cuomo “evaded accountability” after previously revealed about his mentorship, as a veteran producer Shelley Ross put it on a september New York Times op-ed, she disclosure How the CNN star sexually harassed her while on ABC (and then sorry for it).

On Wednesday, Zucker kept busy with additional meetings unrelated to the controversy, including his quarterly senior leadership meeting with CNN’s top 100 employees. As for Cuomo’s future at the network, that’s anyone’s guess. “Whether he’ll come back is a big question,” said one of my CNN sources. “It seems difficult to get him back on the air after this, but I also think Jeff has shown he believes in second chances.” Indeed, like Anderson Cooper announced Cuomo was suspended on Tuesday night, he was seated with Jeffrey Toobin, who spent many months Turn off CNN aired amid the scandal, before returning as the network’s chief legal analyst.

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