Chris Cuomo seen in video testimony saying he told embattled brother ‘cancel culture is real’

Former CNN anchor admitted discussing MeToo, cancel culture, Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump in new footage

Bevan Hurley
Friday 21 January 2022 14:04
Chris Cuomo tells investigators he has seen Andrew touching members of staff

Newly released video released by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office shows former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo admitting he advised his brother Andrew on how to fight sexual harassment claims.

During the near six hour interview on 15 July last year, Mr Cuomo told investigators he cautioned the then-Governor of New York not to go after his accusers and that “cancel culture is real”.

Chris Cuomo was fired by CNN in December after a 348-page transcript of the interview revealed the anchor had pressed sources for information on the accusers and reported back to the governor’s staff about what he was learning.

Andrew Cuomo resigned as New York Governor in August to avoid a looming impeachment trial after being accused of sexual harassing 11 women during his time in office.

In the new footage, Chris Cuomo detailed conversations, text messages and emails with his brother and his staff about the harassment scandal.

He explained he had been “trying to help my brother”.

“I think cancel culture is real, so does my brother,” he told investigators.

“I advised him that you cannot ignore these. That it’s not going to go away, not in our society, not in our media culture, not in your party.

“I told him ‘you have to be aware of that. That’s why you can’t go after your accusers. It’s not right and it’s not allowed.”

Mr Cuomo admitted to being in contact with the governor’s senior aides, including Melissa DeRos, to strategise about his response to the deepening scandal.

When asked by an investigator why he was in contact with the governor’s staff, he said: “I’m the governor’s brother.”

Andrew Cuomo shortly before announcing his resignation as New York Governor in August last year

Mr Cuomo said he often deleted texts and emails as soon as he read them due to a “constant and consistent concern” about being hacked and having sources exposed.

CNN came under fire for allowing Chris Cuomo to conduct softball interviews with his brother at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

The network faced increased scrutiny after Mr Cuomo later acknowledged he had talked to his brother about how to navigate the sexual harassment allegations.

At the time of Mr Cuomo’s firing, CNN President Jeff Zucker told staff he had been misled by the primetime host.

“Chris had been much more deeply involved than we had ever known, and than he’d ever told us,” Mr Zucker said.

Chris Cuomo did not receive a severance pay from the network, resigned from his Sirius XM radio show and had a book deal with HarperCollins cancelled.

Chris, right, was fired after misleading CNN about his involvement in his brother Andrew’s sexual harassment scandal

The New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report that found Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women.

Ms James’ investigation confirmed Chris Cuomo was active in helping craft his brother’s response to the charges.

During his interview last July, Chris Cuomo also told the investigators had asked actor Alec Baldwin not to get involved in the scandal.

Mr Baldwin had offered to release a video in support of the embattled governor, and later did so against Chris’s objections.

“I didn’t think Alec Baldwin weighing in was helpful or respectful to the situation,” he said. 

Chris Cuomo also said he had discussed the MeToo movement in relation to the former president Donald Trump and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“I remember him believing that Kavanaugh was in a lot of trouble,” Mr Cuomo said of their discussions during his 2018 confirmation.

When pressed what they had discussed about Mr Trump, he said: “The nature of what was resonating, and what wasn’t and why, and what that meant about what was happening in society and media.”

“We spoke about the president often during his entire administration.”

Earlier this month, the Albany County’s District Attorney’s Office said it was dropping a misdemeanour criminal charge against Andrew Cuomo that he had sexually harassed a former aide.

Albany District Attorney David Soares said the woman’s complaint was credible, but that “after review of all the available evidence we have concluded that we cannot meet our burden at trial.”

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