CNN's Don Lemon Changes Direction on Old Pal Chris Cuomo Over Breach of 'Journalistic Standards'
Not long ago, Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon appeared to be the best of friends as they bonded in the time between the close of Cuomo’s CNN show and the start of Lemon’s nightly time slot.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Lemon had a snarky comment on the subject of Cuomo’s severance package during an in-house town hall Monday in which WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar took questions from CNN staffers.
Much of the session focused on the ouster of former CNN President Jeff Zucker. He officially resigned last Wednesday due to a relationship with a top CNN staffer that had come to light during the acrimonious negotiations over the severance package of Cuomo, who was fired by the network in December during an investigation into his efforts to help his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, battle allegations of sexual harassment.
Lemon offered his comment Monday when a question was asked about whether CNN would pay Cuomo the massive severance package the former anchor is seeking; the New York Post has reported that Cuomo wants as much as $60 million.
“Did you think about what message it sends to the journalists in the company and also to the larger public that someone can be found to break with those journalistic standards and then get paid handsomely for it?” Lemon asked at the town hall, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Kilar did not answer the question about paying Chris Cuomo’s severance.
Zucker’s resignation dominated the meeting, according to the Journal report.
“There was the possibility of a more imaginative result that would’ve allowed you to keep the captain, instead of throwing the captain overboard while the ship is about to go through icebergs,” Richard Quest, host of the daily show “Quest Means Business” on CNN International, reportedly said.
“We don’t understand, in this room, why the death penalty was necessary,” host Alisyn Camerota said, according to Variety.
Variety’s report said Kilar did not give an answer.
Others called for more dialogue.
“When are we going to move on? Where are the internal memos? Where is the all-hands meeting?” anchor Brian Stelter said. “Where is the global town hall?”
Kilar did not discuss Zucker’s departure.
“I accepted Jeff’s resignation, and that matter is closed,” Kilar said. “I realize that’s not what you wanted to hear, but that is my answer.”
“There is no one, myself included, that anticipated or would want to be in this situation for CNN, for the company, for the team,” Kilar added.
“I hope everyone knows that, and I’m saying it as loudly and as clearly as I can, but here we are.”
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