Shelley Ross, a former top TV news producer at ABC News and CBS News, alleged in a New York Times opinion piece that CNN Primetime host Chris Cuomo sexually harassed her when they both worked at ABC.
Ross wrote that Cuomo squeezed “the cheek of my buttock” at a going away party for an ABC News colleague in New York City in 2005, in full view of her husband.
Cuomo apologized for the interaction in an email a short time later, said Ross, with the subject line “now that i think of it… i am ashamed…,” where he first apologized to Ross’ husband before writing “and I apologize to you as well, for even putting you in such a position.” Ross included a picture of the email in her article.
The allegation comes as Cuomo has faced criticism in recent months for his role in defending his older brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, from multiple claims of sexual harassment.
When asked for comment, CNN pointed to the statement Cuomo provided to the Times Thursday night: “As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature. It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it,” he said.
Ross had been Cuomo’s boss at the ABC News show Primetime Live, though the incident took place after she had left the show. She wrote that does not want Cuomo to lose his CNN role, but rather focus on accountability and “see him journalistically repent,” and “agree on air to study the impact of sexism, harassment and gender bias in the workplace, including his own, and then report on it.”
Last month, after weeks of silence on the matter, Cuomo finally addressed his “brother’s situation” on air, remarking that the resignation of the New York governor has been “unlike anything” he could have “ever imagined.”
The CNN host admitted in May that he had participated in strategy sessions with the governor’s staff on how to handle the sexual harassment allegations. However, Cuomo said that he was never a formal advisor to his brother.