Former CNN political pundit Angela Rye leveled a new sexual harassment accusation against ex-colleague Chris Cuomo whom she claimed made a lewd remark about her appearance that contributed to her being dumped by the network.
In the initial episode of the “Native Land Pod,” the new podcast that she hosts along with disgraced former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and ex-MSNBC racial firebomber Tiffany Cross, Rye told a tale about her “disappearance” from CNN and how Cuomo’s calling her “tinsel crotch” led to her ouster, at least in her mind.
Rye told her co-hosts that her departure from CNN was more “impactful” than she at first believed after she was told by the network in January 2021 that her contract was not being renewed due to a shift away from politics to a focus on COVID, an explanation that she knew was “a lie” because “two black women were hired for half my current contributor rate right after.”
(Video: YouTube/Native Land Pod)
“Just 10 days prior to receiving that call on Jan. 21, the darling of the network and one of the most influential hosts during Jeff Zucker’s tenure was texting me about a segment idea he had for his primetime show,” she said. “Chris Cuomo was suddenly excited about a prominent regular role for me where I would check the left. Truthfully, I had my doubts on the genuine nature of this idea… Cuomo came up with this particular segment idea after a text exchange that went woefully wrong.”
“It all began on New Year’s Day when I posted a picture of myself looking forward to the new year in a gold-sequined bikini on Instagram. Cuomo screenshot the image and said, ‘Happy New Year, tinsel crotch,’” Rye explained. “Stunned, I read and reread the message a dozen times, trying to understand. If I somehow brought this on myself since whatever you post on social is fair game, right? I teared up… I felt like the safest place I had on a show on CNN had been compromised.”
Rye said that Cuomo, who himself was later fired by CNN, sent her texts later and the following day called her to “discuss work,” saying that she held off in responding but when she did, she asked if he “still wanted to discuss his work idea despite him mentioning tinsel bikini and tinsel bottom along the way.”
“As I think about this, it feels so f**king small compared to what other women in the workplace experience, but I was afraid to speak up,” she complained. “Between New Year’s and my follow-up, an insurrection happened on Capitol Hill where I feared I would lose loved ones. I felt like if I called him out, I was risking everything I was finally starting to build with the network and, as someone who is known for being courageous, I cannot begin to tell you how much I felt like… a coward. In 10 short days, I felt like what was the clear ride to the promised land turned into quicksand.”
“I was mad at myself for not addressing this sooner. I was mad at myself for protecting your image with the black women I know who loved you and looked forward to hearing your voice,” the emotional Rye added. “I know I’m not the only one, and truthfully, I’m mad about that, too, that everyone has given you a pass for fear of what it might mean to hold you accountable for clearly inappropriate behavior and overstepping. I was mad at myself for shrinking in the face of power when people depend on me to stand up, to speak up.
Cuomo was terminated by CNN in December 2021 after an anonymous colleague accused him of sexual misconduct. He has since landed a new gig at NewsNation where he is trying to reinvent himself as an actual journalist.
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