As it happenedended1643843721

Jeff Zucker news – latest: CNN’s Stelter says Chris Cuomo trying to ‘burn’ down network, exposed ex-boss

Fallout from Chris Cuomo investigation claims career of network’s president

Jeff Zucker: CNN boss resigns after admitting relationship with colleague

CNN president Jeff Zucker announced his resignation from the cable news network after admitting to an undisclosed relationship with a colleague.

“As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo’s tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years. I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong. As a result, I am resigning today,” Mr Zucker said in a statement.

The announcement stunned the media world and network staffers on Wednesday. According to CNN, Mr Zucker had a relationship with the company’s chief marketing officer, Allison Gollust. Ms Gollust acknowledged in her own statement that she, like Mr Zucker, should have disclosed the relationship to company human resources staffers. Instead, it was revealed in the course of an investigation into Chris Cuomo.

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Jeff Zucker out at CNN

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Zucker says his ‘consensual relationship’ with CNN’s executive vice president uncovered in Cuomo probe

In a shocking statement shared by CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter, network president Jeff Zucker explained that a “consensual relationship” with a close colleague had been uncovered by investigators looking in to the misconduct alleged to have been committed by Chris Cuomo, who was fired by CNN in December.

The relationship was revealed in other media reports to have between Mr Zucker and Allison Gollust, CNN’s executive vice president.

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CNN media columnists describe shocked newsroom

CNN’s Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter described the mood in CNN’s newsrooms on Wednesday as “stunned” and “absolute shock” after Mr Zucker’s resignation was announced. The news apparently broke to CNN staff only minutes before the announcement hit social media.

“Staffers inside CNN are in absolute shock right now,” said Mr Darcy, describing the news as having been broke in a company-wide email around 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

The Independent has reached out for further comment.

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Trump claims Zucker ouster a result of poor viewership

Former President Donald Trump, a longtime critic of Mr Zucker due to CNN’s work covering his administration, released an elated statement shortly after news of the CNN boss’s resignation was announced.

In the statement Mr Trump claimed that his foe was ousted for “numerous reasons” but contended that the primary reason was CNN’s viewership.

“Jeff Zucker, a world-class sleazebag who has headed ratings and real-news-challenged CNN for far too long, has been terminated for numerous reasons, but predominantly because CNN has lost its way with viewers and everybody else,” remarked the former president.

He added: “Jeff Zucker is gone—congratulations to all!”

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Brian Stelter reads statement from Allison Gollust

Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s Reliable Sources, read a statement from the network’s executive vice president Allison Gollust about her relationship with Jeff Zucker on air shortly after after Mr Zucker’s own statement hit social media.

Like Mr Zucker, Ms Gollust said she regretted not sharing the relationship’s existence with CNN staff before it was discovered.

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Read Allison Gollust’s full statement

CNN executive vice president Allison Gollust’s statement did not indicate whether she will face any consequences at the network for not revealing her relationship with Mr Zucker to human resources personnel, but said that she regretted not doing so.

“Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years. Recently, our relationship changed during Covid. I regret that we didn’t disclose it at the right time. I’m incredibly proud of my time at CNN and look forward to continuing the great work we do everyday,” said Ms Gollust.

Ms Gollust remains the chief marketing officer for CNN Worldwide and the top spokesperson for the company’s various news brands.

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WarnerMedia CEO announces ‘interim co-heads’ for CNN

Jason Kilar, who joined WarnerMedia as its CEO in 2020, announced to CNN’s staff on Wednesday that three members of the network’s leadership team would take on roles as “interim co-heads” of CNN until a new president was named.

Those interim co-heads are Michael Bass, Amy Entelis and Ken Jautz, according to Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter. Mr Bass is currently CNN’s executive vice president of programming, Ms Entelis is executive vice president for content development and talent, and Mr Jautz is executive vice president for CNN/US, which includes the HLN network.

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Gollust’s connection to Cuomo probe complicates situation for CNN

Allison Gollust remains executive vice president and the chief marketing officer of CNN Worldwide, at least for now. The Independent has inquired about her future at the network to a WarnerMedia representative.

But the situation shows the continued complications the network’s leadership has faced in their efforts to untangle CNN from the sexual misconduct scandal that ultimately engulfed and consumed the governorship of Andrew Cuomo in New York as well as the CNN career of his brother, Chris Cuomo.

Ms Gollust served as the ex-governor’s communications director for about a year before joining CNN in 2013; she previously also worked with Mr Zucker at NBC Universal. It isn’t clear whether her name came up as potentially involved in the efforts to defend the governor as his brother did, but Politico reported that Chris Cuomo’s legal team criticised Mr Zucker’s relationship with Ms Gollust as hypocritical following Mr Cuomo’s firing from the network for his own allegations of sexual misconduct.

Puck News added in a separate report that Mr Cuomo’s lawyers want communications between Mr Zucker and Ms Gollust preserved.

“Cuomo’s legal team asserted that Zucker was hypocritical to suggest Cuomo had a personal conflict of interest when the relationship with Gollust represented a potential conflict as well,” reported Politico’s Mackenzie Wilkes and Max Tani.

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Journalists outside CNN react with derision after Zucker exits CNN

While many at CNN, where Mr Zucker was reportedly quite popular, reacted with shock to Wednesday’s news the reaction from outside the newsroom in the broader media business was different.

His critics in the industry (of whom there are many) took the opportunity to unload on the ex-president of CNN for his role in platforming Donald Trump’s rallies (often for long stretches of time even when Mr Trump himself was not on stage) in 2015 and 2016. They also hammered him for CNN’s continued stagnation in the cable news ratings war.

“Jeff Zucker is one of the most morally bankrupt people alive and one of the most responsible for the deterioration of political media,” wrote Steve Morris, a journalist for The Recount.

“Good riddance,” added The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin.

Megan Sheets has the story:

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CNN’s Allison Gollost: Who is she?

Allison Gollost released a statement on Wednesday after news broke of CNN president Jeff Zucker’s firing after he and Ms Gollost, an executive vice president at the network, did not disclose their consensual relationship.

In her statement, Ms Gollost said that she is “incredibly proud of my time at CNN” and added that she “look[s] forward to continuing the great work we do every day.”

Nathan Place has more on the CNN executive’s background, including her connection to the Andrew Cuomo investigation:

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