- In December, a woman accused former CNN host Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct.
- The woman told The New York Times that Cuomo tried to keep her silent by arranging a positive segment about her employer.
- A spokesperson for Cuomo told Insider that the allegations are false.
An unnamed woman who accused former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct alleges he tried to keep her silent by arranging a positive news segment about her employer years after the alleged assault, according to The New York Times.
In December 2021, Cuomo was fired from CNN for using his media sources to help his brother, ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, fend off sexual misconduct allegations. Days later, The Times reported, employment lawyer Debra. S. Katz told CNN that a former junior colleague who previously worked with Chris Cuomo at a different network had accused the anchor of past sexual misconduct.
The Times’ Tuesday report — detailing the months-long investigation into company conduct concerning Cuomo, former CNN president Jeff Zucker, and former vice president and chief marketing officer Allison Gollust — revealed new information surrounding the sexual assault allegation against Cuomo, including an interview with the anonymous woman.
According to the outlet, Katz sent a letter to CNN on December 1, describing the alleged incident on behalf of the woman.
The woman, referred to as Jane Doe in the letter, alleges she was working in a temporary position at ABC News in 2011 when Cuomo, one of the network’s anchors at the time, offered her career advice. The next day, he reportedly invited her to have lunch in his office, according to interviews with Doe and emails between her and Cuomo reviewed by The Times.
There was no food when she arrived and Cuomo propositioned her for sex, she said. When she declined, she alleges he assaulted her. She then ran out of the room.
Doe told the newspaper that she attempted to smooth things over with Cuomo later that day by writing him a friendly email. She said she was still hoping to secure a job.
The Times spoke to five people who said the woman told them about Cuomo’s alleged unwelcome advances, but Doe said she only began talking about the assault in the past year because it was private and painful.
Years after the alleged incident, amid the height of the #MeToo movement, Cuomo reportedly contacted the woman out of the blue, as other TV journalists like Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose were facing sexual misconduct allegations.
Katz’s letter claimed that Cuomo suggested organizing a CNN segment about the company where Doe was employed doing public relations, according to The Times. The woman told the outlet that she tried to avoid contact with him, but the network ultimately ran the segment.
“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, according to the outlet.
The Times reviewed the messages that Cuomo sent to Doe, as well as the CNN segment.
In her letter to CNN, Katz reportedly said the woman does not want to become “a pawn in an internecine war between Zucker, Chris Cuomo, and CNN,” and would not be commenting further on the matter.
Steven Goldberg, a spokesman for Cuomo, told Insider that the allegations in the anonymous letter are false.
“He was never asked about the allegations prior to being terminated nor given an opportunity to respond to the allegations,” he said.
In September, Cuomo was accused of sexually harassing a different former colleague while at ABC. Shelly Ross, a TV journalist who once served as Cuomo’s boss at the network, accused the anchor of groping her during a hug at a bar.
Cuomo at the time acknowledged that the encounter happened but denied that it was sexual in nature.
“As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature,” he said. “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.”