Chris Cuomo Addresses CNN Coverage Of Sexual Harassment Allegations Against His Brother

(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

As a third accuser came forward with allegations of unwanted advances against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, his brother Chris Cuomo addressed the issue as he opened his CNN show on Monday night.

“Before we start tonight, let me say something that I am sure very obvious to you who watch my show, and thank you for that. You are straight with me. I will be straight with you,” Chris Cuomo said. “Obviously, I am aware of what is going on with my brother, and obviously, I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now of course CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and they will continue to do so. I have always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so. I just want to tell you that. There’s a lot of news that goes on also, so let’s get after that.”

The network devoted eight segments to allegations on Sunday, two on Saturday and two on Friday.

Last spring, Cuomo had his brother on Cuomo Prime Time as a guest, breaking with a network policy that he not interview the New York governor because of the obvious conflict of interest. Although the Cuomo brothers segments drew criticism and some consternation in journalism circles, the network’s chief Jeff Zucker, in an interview with The New York Times, defended the brothers’ “authenticity and relatability and vulnerability.”

CNN has issued a recent statement regarding Cuomo and his brother.

“The early months of the pandemic crisis were an extraordinary time,” the statement read. “We felt that Chris speaking with his brother about the challenges of what millions of American families were struggling with was of significant human interest.  As a result, we made an exception to a rule that we have had in place since 2013 which prevents Chris from interviewing and covering his brother, and that rule remains in place today.  CNN has covered the news surrounding Governor Cuomo extensively.”

On Monday, The New York Times reported that a third accuser has come forward with claims that Andrew Cuomo made unwanted advances on her at a wedding reception. Two former aides have accused him of sexual harassment.

On Sunday, the governor issued a statement in which he said, “I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.

“To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to.”

New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, said that she received notice from the governor to select an independent law firm to conduct an inquiry into the allegations.

As Cuomo was getting praise last spring for his coronavirus press briefings, Janice Dean, senior meteorologist for Fox News Channel, was sounding a different tone. She was highly critical of the way that the governor was handling the pandemic, after both of her husband’s parents died of coronavirus in different assisted living and nursing homes in New York. She was particularly critical of a Cuomo Prime Time segment last spring in which Chris Cuomo brought out an oversized cotton swab, meant to test for the coronavirus, to make fun of the size of his brother’s nose.

In January, James found that Cuomo’s administration greatly understated the death toll in state nursing homes. The New York Post later reported that one of Cuomo’s aides apologized to lawmakers and said that they did not disclose the number of deaths out of fear of the response from federal prosecutors. Also coming under scrutiny and criticism was an administration directive issued late last March to have nursing homes accept Covid-19 patients from hospitals.

On Monday night, Dean wrote on Twitter about Chris Cuomo’s remarks, “Too effing late….I will never forget these guys joking around while we screamed in horror at the thousands that were dying around us. An apology would’ve been a good start @ChrisCuomo.”

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