On the Tuesday edition of Cuomo Primetime, host Chris Cuomo avoided discussing the damning sexual harassment investigation into his brother, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, easily the top news story of the day.
Instead, Cuomo kicked off his 9 p.m. hour by referring to his show as a “Covid command center,” leading with the increase in coronavirus cases among the unvaccinated across the country, and interviewing former surgeon general Jerome Adams about the recent surge.
On Tuesday afternoon , an 168-page report was released by New York Attorney General Tish James’ office which concluded that Gov. Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women, most of whom were state employees.
According to the investigation, Gov. Cuomo engaged in behavior that included kissing, groping, nonconsensual touching and making sexual remarks. Independent investigators added that Gov. Cuomo and his senior staff created a “toxic” work culture, which included retaliating against one former staffer who came forward with allegations.
The New York governor put out a lengthy video statement Tuesday denying the allegations from these women.
The evening newscasts and other CNN shows covered the revelations from the Cuomo harassment investigation at length. Don Lemon led with the story at the top of the 10 p.m. hour., and there was no handoff discussion between Cuomo and Lemon on Tuesday, as is tradition for the two hosts at 10 p.m.
When, back in May, reports surfaced that Chris Cuomo had advised his older brother on how to respond to these sexual harassment allegations (something which was confirmed in the New York AG’s report), the CNN host said on his show that he would not be covering the allegations.
Cuomo on May 20: “I am family first—job second,” he said. “But being a journalist and a brother to a politician is unique, and a unique challenge, and I have a unique responsibility to balance those roles. It’s not always easy … how I helped my brother also matters. When my brother’s situation became turbulent being looped into calls with other friends of his and advisors that did include some of his staff, I understand why that was a problem for CNN. It will not happen again. It was a mistake, because I put my colleagues here, who I believe are the best in the business, in a bad spot. I never intended for that, I would never intend for that, and I am sorry for that.”
He appeared to stick with that practice Tuesday evening by avoiding the story and his role in it, which included testifying as part of the AG’s investigation.
What do Cuomo’s CNN colleagues think about all of this? One of those colleagues, Brian Stelter writes in his daily Reliable Sources newsletter:
“Some CNN staffers were supportive of Cuomo on Tuesday, recognizing that no one chooses their family members, and that viewers expected to see him on the air for Prime Time, one of the network’s highest-rated shows. Some other staffers were, as BuzzFeed News wrote, ‘highly critical of the company’s decision not to discipline Chris Cuomo for his role in the scandal.'”
For now, CNN management is keeping its 9 p.m. host on the air, but if this story remains in the news for much longer, if will be increasingly difficult to justify avoiding it. We’ll see what happens.