US news network CNN has fired anchor Chris Cuomo less than a week after fresh information emerged about how he assisted his brother who was facing sexual harassment allegations.
Cuomo helped to strategise and reach out to other journalists as Andrew Cuomo, the former New York governor, fought to keep his job.
After women came forward to accuse the former governor of sexual harassment, Cuomo had pressed sources for information on the accusers and reported back to the governor’s staff on what he was learning.
He was active in helping craft their response to the charges, according to emails and a transcript of his testimony to investigators working for state Attorney General Letitia James. Her office found Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women.
The former governor resigned in August to avoid a likely impeachment trial.
CNN had suspended prime-time host Cuomo on Tuesday to investigate his conduct after it emerged he was more involved in helping his brother than was previously known.
Lawyers for a law firm hired by CNN for the investigation recommended Cuomo should be removed from his role.
CNN chief Jeff Zucker informed the anchor of the decision on Saturday.
Cuomo posted in a statement on Twitter after losing his job: “This is not how I want my time at CNN to end but I have already told you why and how I helped my brother. So let me now say as disappointing as this is, I could not be more proud of the team at Cuomo Prime Time and the work we did as CNN’s #1 show in the most competitive time slot.
“I owe them all and will miss that group of special people who did really important work.”
CNN said “additional information” had “come to light” during its investigation. However, it would not discuss that information or characterise whether it had anything to do with his brother.
The network has also said it will continue to investigate their former anchor’s conduct.
A year ago Cuomo was a top-rated personality on CNN, while his brother was a three-term governor being praised for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, they are now both out of work.
Cuomo and CNN have been under fire for months about their anchor’s conduct.
When it first came to light in May that the anchor had been talking to his brother’s advisers, the network acknowledged that he had broken its rules but, as CNN said in a statement upon his suspension earlier this week, “we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second”.
The transcripts released by Ms James this week revealed considerably more detail about Cuomo’s involvement – conduct CNN executives admitted was a surprise even to them.
While Cuomo has said he never tried to influence CNN’s own coverage of his brother, he told investigators for Ms James about his calls to other journalists to find out what information they had about some of his accusers.
That seemed to conflict with an on-air statement Cuomo gave on CNN following his brother’s resignation in August. Cuomo had said that “I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation”.
Cuomo also said that he never “attacked, nor encouraged anyone to attack any woman who came forward” with accusations against his brother.
According to email transcripts released this week, Cuomo wrote to aides that “I have a lead” on one of the accusers, although it was not clear what he meant.