NEW YORK — CNN has fired anchor Chris Cuomo after details emerged about how he helped his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, face charges of sexual harassment earlier this year.
"We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated (Cuomo), effective immediately," read a statement CNN shared on Twitter. The company said it is still investigating additional information that "came to light" during the review.
"Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate," the statement read.
CNN had suspended Cuomo on Tuesday, saying documents released by New York's attorney general showed a greater level of involvement in his brother's efforts than CNN executives previously knew.
The CNN anchor pressed sources for information on his brother's accusers and reported back to the governor's staff, and was active in helping craft their response to the charges, according to emails and a transcript of his testimony to investigators working for state Attorney General Letitia James. Her office found Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women.
Chris Cuomo previously acknowledged talking to his brother and offering advice when the governor faced harassment charges. But the information released Monday revealed far more details about what exactly Chris Cuomo did. Andrew Cuomo resigned in August to avoid a likely impeachment trial.
Chris Cuomo said on Twitter that he was proud of the work he did at the network.
“This is not how I want my time at CNN to end but I have already told you why and how I helped my brother. So let me now say as disappointing as this is, I could not be more proud of the team at Cuomo Prime Time and the work we did as CNN’s #1 show in the most competitive time slot," he said.
Cuomo's weeknight program averaged 1.3 million viewers, narrowly outpacing Anderson Cooper as CNN's most popular show, according to the Nielsen company. Like many cable newscasts, viewership is down significantly after being swollen during the election year.
The anchor's firing leaves a significant hole in CNN's schedule. One former rival is becoming a free agent soon: Brian Williams recently announced he was leaving MSNBC, where he had anchored a nightly news hour, when his contract ends with the end of the year.
There was always a potential of conflict with one Cuomo brother as governor and another as a journalist. But since Chris Cuomo debuted on CNN in 2013 after joining from ABC News, it was always made clear that he would not cover anything that involved his brother.
That changed with the COVID-19 pandemic, when the governor appeared on his brother's show several times, trading familial banter that was entertaining but raised ethical red flags. They were then halted.
A veteran TV executive, Shelley Ross, wrote a column for The New York Times in September saying Chris Cuomo had groped her at a party 16 years ago, when they both worked for ABC News. Cuomo told the newspaper that “I apologized to her then, and I meant it.”