CNN has issued a statement confirming one of its primetime anchors, Chris Cuomo, took part in a series of advisory phone calls to help his brother, embattled Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, following a bombshell report.
The left-wing CNN host, according to The Washington Post, was reportedly part of a series of “strategy calls” with his brother and aides to the governor earlier this year to create a game plan after Andrew Cuomo began to face mounting sexual harassment accusations from women.
Andrew Cuomo was joined by his younger brother on “a series of conference calls that included the Democratic governor’s top aide, his communications team, lawyers and a number of outside advisers,” The Post reported Thursday.
While advising his brother about a major topic of public interest, and while working for CNN, Chris Cuomo reportedly urged his brother to strike a “defiant” tone against the accusers and those calling for his job.
The younger Cuomo is also said to have strongly advised his brother against resigning.
Given the conflict of interest issues between the Cuomo brothers, CNN commented on the bombshell report and described its employee’s actions as “inappropriate.”
“Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes,” CNN told The Post. “In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother.”
CNN vowed that its primetime host would refrain from advising his embattled bother in the future.
“However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges,” CNN said. “He will not participate in such conversations going forward.”
A report earlier this year implicated Chris Cuomo in another scandal, in which Andrew Cuomo was accused by numerous sources of having used his power as governor to give his family and friends preferential access to COVID testing in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chris Cuomo was reportedly among those who received testing while others in the state had to wait for such testing to become widely available.
The Post reported that on one call, Chris Cuomo blamed “cancel culture” for the state of his brother’s career.
Andrew Cuomo’s spokesman Rich Azzopardi confided to The Post that Chris Cuomo did take part in the calls to form a strategy when combatting the sexual harassment scandals.
“There were a few phone conversations, with friends and advisers giving the governor advice,” Azzopardi said.
Nicholas Lemann with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism slammed the reported engagements between the Cuomo brothers in a statement to The Post.
“If you are actively advising a politician in trouble while being an on-air host on a news network, that’s not okay,” Lemann said.
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