A former news producer who accused Chris Cuomo of sexual harassment has dismissed CNN‘s internal investigation into the anchor’s support for his beleaguered brother – while the network has seen ratings soar since their star talking head was suspended.
Cuomo, 51, was placed on an indefinite suspension on Tuesday – a day after the New York attorney general published damaging information.
The documents on Monday showed that Cuomo was far more involved than he had admitted to viewers and CNN executives in helping his brother, Governor Andrew Cuomo, defend himself from accusations of sexual harassment and assault.
Chris Cuomo insisted the assistance was minimal, yet text messages published by the attorney general showed him deeply involved in strategy – seeking information on the accusers, looking for early warning of any new allegations, and crafting his brother’s statements.
Shelley Ross, who in September accused Chris of grabbing her buttocks in 2005, said on Friday that CNN’s internal investigation was insufficient.
‘Only an outside team of professionals can stop malicious, neglectful, or consciously wrong behavior by those who engage in it or enable it,’ she told Fox News Digital.
Chris Cuomo was suspended by CNN on Tuesday, after it emerged that he had not been transparent with his bosses and viewers about how much assistance he had given his brother, Andrew
Shelley Ross, who worked with Chris Cuomo at ABC News, accused him of grabbing her buttocks at a bar, in 2005. She said that CNN’s internal investigation into his help for his brother was insufficient
Newly-released texts from CNN host Chris Cuomo (right) reveal he helped strategize brother Andrew Cuomo’s (left) response to the sexual harassment scandal earlier this year
Ross spoke as the first ratings from Cuomo’s 9pm ET slot were published – showing that his fill-in, Anderson Cooper, attracted more viewers when he hosted Cuomo’s show.
The total number of viewers for Cuomo Prime Time spiked to 897,000 on Tuesday night – the first night without its official host – according to Nielsen TV ratings data posted online by AdWeek’s TVNewser website.
That figure was up nearly 19 percent from Monday, when Cuomo attracted just 754,000 viewers.
It also exceed his show’s average of 774,000 viewers during November, when it ranked No. 25 among all cable TV news programs – right behind Cooper’s.
The highest-rated 9pm anchor was Fox News’s Sean Hannity, who drew 3.4 million viewers on average. Rachel Maddow was second for MSNBC, with 1.9 million.
Ross, who began her television career in 1981, worked with Cuomo when they both were at ABC.
She wrote an Op Ed in The New York Times in September, describing the 2005 incident.
Chris Cuomo on Monday night ignored the subject of his own communications with his brother Andrew and his team earlier this year, during the then-governor’s sexual harassment scandal
Pages of text exchanges between Chris Cuomo and Andrew Cuomo’s top aid Melissa DeRosa were released by the New York Attorney General’s office Monday, showing a high level of involvement in Andrew’s defense
Melissa DeRosa, former secretary to the governor, exchanged dozens of messages with Chris Cuomo as her boss’s sexual harassment scandal was unfolding
Andrew Cuomo is seen in July testifying before the Attorney General’s investigative team
Chris Cuomo admitted he had behaved inappropriately, saying in a statement: ‘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.’
Ross also criticized the way that Chris and his employer had handled the scandal surrounding Andrew Cuomo
Texts also revealed Chris Cuomo used his connections to find out about accusers, telling DeRosa he ‘a lead on the wedding girl,’ in reference to Anna Ruch (above), who told The New York Times the governor became ‘aggressive’ towards her during a September 2019 wedding
Chris had broken journalistic ethics previously, interviewing his brother live on air for jokey segments about the pandemic.
When the news of allegations against the 63-year-old governor broke, Chris helped him – something he admitted to viewers several months later, in May, when confronted by a Washington Post expose.
He was not reprimanded by the network – despite some of his colleagues, including anchor Jake Tapper, saying that it put them all in a difficult position.
On Monday, when the attorney general’s report was published, CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker, was said to have ‘hit the roof’, feeling that he had been deceived by Cuomo.
Ross said that she wanted to see an external investigation, in the same style as that carried out into Dan Rather’s false allegations in 2005 about then-President George W. Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard.
Rather’s allegations were found to rely on forged documents.
‘In 2005 CBS set the standard when they hired [former U.S. Attorney General] Richard L. Thornburgh and Louis Boccardi, retired chief executive of the Associated Press, to investigate the journalism and the corporate culture surrounding Dan Rather’s erroneous reporting of President Bush’s Air National Guard duty,’ she told Fox.
She added: ‘When he’s invited back, he still should be assigned a series on sexual harassment and ethics in the workplace.’