CNN Chief Marketing and Comms Officer Allison Gollust Resigns Following WarnerMedia Investigation

By A.J. Katz 

CNN evp and chief marketing officer Allison Gollust has resigned from the company, following the completion of a third-party investigation into the network.

In a memo to staff (shown below), WarnerMedia chief executive Jason Kilar announced that Gollust had violated the company’s policies.

“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,” the memo reads. ““I realize this news is troubling, disappointing, and frankly, painful to read. These are valid feelings many of you have. We have the highest standards of journalistic integrity at CNN, and those rules must apply to everyone equally.  Given the information provided to me in the investigation, I strongly believe we have taken the right actions and the right decisions have been made.”



In regard to her departure Tuesday evening, Gollust released the following statement: “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 last two weeks. It is deeply disappointing that after spending the past nine years defending and upholding CNN’s highest standards of journalistic integrity, I would be treated this way as I leave. But I do so with my head held high, knowing that I gave my heart and soul to working with the finest journalists in the world.”

Gollust’s exit comes almost two weeks to the day after CNN president and WarnerMedia News & Sports chairman Jeff Zucker resigned. Zucker mentioned a failure to disclose a consensual romantic relationship with Gollust, a longtime deputy, when that relationship first began. The revelation stemmed from an outside law firm’s investigation into the behavior of former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who was fired in early December for conduct relating to his brother former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo after the governor was accused of sexual harassment.

A lengthy, five-byline New York Times story was published Tuesday evening, and it outlines how exactly we got to this point; how Chris Cuomo ended up going from being suspended to fired, and how Zucker and Gollust became causalities of the third-party investigation into Cuomo as well.

One of the more alarming parts of the “tick-tock” has to do with Chris Cuomo and a former ABC News employee who was accusing him of sexual harassment. During the height of the #MeToo movement, Cuomo allegedly reached out to the woman, with whom he worked while at ABC, and proposed arranging a positive segment on Cuomo Primetime about her PR company.

This revelation is in a letter from the accuser’s lawyer Debra Katz (no relation to yours truly) to Cravath, which was the law firm conducting the investigation into Cuomo and CNN. The letter was obtained and reviewed by the Times.

“After years without any substantive communication from Mr. Cuomo whatsoever, Ms. Doe suspected he was concerned about her coming forward publicly with her allegations and wanted to use the proposed segment as an opportunity to ‘test the waters’ and discourage her from going on the record about his sexual misconduct,” Katz wrote.

The accuser apparently tried to avoid any contact with Cuomo, but CNN ultimately broadcast a segment about her company anyway.

The Times reviewed Cuomo’s messages to the woman and the segment and spoke with her boss at the time. Her boss said that after the segment aired, the woman shared some of the details of the encounter and Cuomo’s subsequent outreach.

On Friday, Dec. 3, two days after Katz sent the letter to CNN’s general counsel, she and a lawyer for CNN planned to hand over evidence to substantiate the woman’s sexual harassment claims against Cuomo. However, according to the Times, Zucker fired Cuomo the following afternoon (Saturday, Dec. 4) before this could even take place.

A spokesman for Cuomo told the Times that the allegations in Katz’s letter “are false. He was never asked about the allegations prior to being terminated or given an opportunity to respond.”