Chris Cuomo apologises for incident with female executive but denies it was ‘sexual’

CNN anchor says the incident in which he squeezed his colleague’s buttock was ‘not sexual in nature’

Helen Elfer
Friday 24 September 2021 16:30
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CNN’s Chris Cuomo has apologised for harassing a TV producer when they worked together at ABC News, but says the interaction was not sexual.

In an essay for the New York Times, former ABC News executive producer Shelley Ross described an incident in which Mr Cuomo “squeezed the cheek of her buttock” at a party without her permission in 2005.

In response to the allegation, Cuomo told The Independent via a representative: “As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature. It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it.”

Ms Ross told the New York Times: “I was at the party with my husband, who sat behind me on an ottoman sipping his Diet Coke as I spoke with work friends. When Mr Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, he walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock.”

Adding that Cuomo was behaving with a “kind of cocky arrogance” Ms Ross said he told her: “I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss,” to which Ms Ross replied he couldn’t and pushed him off her. She indicated her husband was right behind her, and the couple left the party soon after.

The CNN presenter apologised in an email later that night, writing to Ms Ross: “Though my hearty greeting was a function of being glad to see you … christian slater got arrested for a (kind of) similar act, (though borne of an alleged negative intent, unlike my own)…and as a husband I can empathize with not liking to see my wife patted as such.”

Cuomo asked Ms Ross in the email to pass along his apologies to her “very good and noble husband,” and also wrote: “I apologize to you as well, for even putting you in such a position.”

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