Jeff Zucker’s lover steps down at CNN as more on Cuomo 2011 sex allegations come to light

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Just when you think things can’t get any worse for CNN, another bomb drops… the alleged devastation being so egregious that the cable network may forever be known as the Calamity News Network.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo was fired after a lawyer representing a woman who had worked with Cuomo years earlier claimed the anchor had sexually assaulted her. The firing came after Cuomo was suspended for assisting his brother, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, weather sexual harassment accusations leveled against him.

CNN media reporter Brian Stelter said at the time that Cuomo could “be back in January.”

“Barely 24 hours later, a letter arrived at CNN,” the Times reported. “It was from a lawyer representing a woman who had worked with Mr. Cuomo years earlier at ABC News. She said he had sexually assaulted her and that, in the heat of the #MeToo movement, Mr. Cuomo had tried to keep her quiet by arranging a flattering CNN segment about her employer at the time.”

The letter described the arrangement as an “abuse of power at CNN to attempt to silence my client,” according to the newspaper.

The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, was a young temporary ABC employee hoping for a full-time job and alleged that one day in 2011 Cuomo invited her to lunch in his office under the pretext of offering her career advice, But when she arrived, there was no food. According to the woman, Cuomo had an appetite for sex instead and “badgered her” to give it up, the Times noted. When she declined to serve up the dish he had in mind, Cuomo allegedly assaulted her before she ran out of the room.

Five friends and former colleagues told the Times that the woman, who is represented by prominent sexual harassment attorney Debra Katz, told them Cuomo had made unwelcome sexual requests.

Former CNN chief Jeff Zucker fired Cuomo the next afternoon, only to soon lose his job after it was revealed that he was having an inter-office romance with a junior executive.

Zucker announced earlier this month: “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.”

Zucker’s paramour is CNN executive VP and chief marketing officer Allison Gollust, who just happened to resign Tuesday.

WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar announced in a memo Tuesday that Gollust had resigned after the inquiry found ethical violations as a result of her relationship with Zucker.

“Based on interviews of more than 40 individuals and a review of over 100,000 texts and emails, the investigation found violations of Company policies, including CNN’s News Standards and Practices, by Jeff Zucker, Allison Gollust, and Chris Cuomo,” Kilar said.

Gollust responded to the announcement in a scorched earth letter to CNN colleagues claiming that WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company, broke a promise to allow her to announce that she was leaving, accusing the company of retaliating against her… while claiming she spent her career at the network “upholding CNN’s highest standards of journalistic integrity.”

“I had hoped to share my news with you tonight myself, and WarnerMedia had assured me I could do that. Unfortunately, they jumped the gun, breaking their promise. I am sorry you had to learn this from someone other than me,” Gollust said.

“WarnerMedia’s statement tonight is an attempt to retaliate against me and change the media narrative in the wake of their disastrous handling of the past two weeks,” she wrote. “It is deeply disappointing that after spending the last nine years defending and upholding CNN’s highest standards of journalistic integrity, I would be treated this way as I leave.”

Tom Tillison


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