CNN fired Chris Cuomo after learning he’d been accused of sexual misconduct by a woman who formerly worked with him at ABC, sources told The Post on Sunday.
The unidentified woman is set to be interviewed by outside lawyers hired by CNN this week, pending an agreement to keep her identity and everything she says confidential, sources said.
Cuomo, 51, hasn’t been formally told the accuser’s name but is believed to have figured it out based on information in a letter her lawyer sent to CNN last week, sources said.
The woman was previously described only as “a former junior colleague at another network” by the New York Times, which first reported on the new allegations after Cuomo’s termination Saturday.
Cuomo was a news anchor for ABC’s “Good Morning America” from 2006 to 2009 and also served as anchor of the network’s “20/20” before leaving in 2013 to co-host CNN’s morning show.
The firing of the “Cuomo Prime Time” star came just four days after he was suspended over revelations that he tried to help his brother, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, fight sexual-harassment allegations by contacting news industry sources for information and by seeking details about at least one accuser.
CNN felt compelled to fire Chris Cuomo after learning of the new allegations against him last week, a TV insider told The Post. Chris Cuomo was previously accused of grabbing the rear end of a female ABC producer in 2005 and of causing a female producer to leave his CNN show last year because she “felt threatened.”
“From a legal standpoint, CNN had cause to fire Chris on Friday based on the Letitia James information,” the source said, referring to documents released last week by the state attorney general on her office’s probe into Andrew Cuomo, which included new details about his brother advising him during the scandal.
“From a practical standpoint, when the sexual-misconduct claim came in, CNN decided, ‘Enough is enough.’”
In a statement to the Times on Saturday night, a CNN spokeswoman said, “When new allegations came to us this week, we took them seriously, and saw no reason to delay taking immediate action.”
On Sunday, the accuser’s lawyer, Debra Katz, said in a statement that she contacted CNN on Wednesday to report the woman’s unspecified misconduct claims against Chris Cuomo.
“By Friday, I was in discussions with CNN about providing documentary evidence of my client’s allegations and making my client available for an interview with CNN’s outside counsel,” she said.
Katz has told CNN she’ll identify the woman and let her be interviewed by the company’s lawyers only after the network agrees to sign a non-disclosure agreement, sources familiar with the matter told The Post.
The lawyers are preparing to interview the woman this week, CNN insiders said.
The matter is being handled by the white-shoe law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, the network’s chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, said on his “Reliable Sources” program on CNN on Sunday.
Katz — who also represents one of Andrew Cuomo’s accusers, former aide Charlotte Bennett — did not immediately respond to a Post request for comment.
Chris Cuomo’s spokesman, Steven Goldberg, said in a statement that “these apparently anonymous allegations are not true.”
He declined to comment further.
In a statement Saturday, before the sexual misconduct allegations became public, Chris Cuomo called his firing “disappointing” and said, “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.”
In May, after the Washington Post revealed that Chris Cuomo had taken part in strategy sessions with his brother’s aides and advisers, the former CNN star defiantly declared on his show, “I’m family first, job second.”
But he added that what he did “was a mistake because I put my colleagues here, who I believe are the best in the business, in a bad spot.
“I never intended for that, I would never intend for that and I’m sorry for that,” he added.
In September, former ABC executive producer Shelley Ross alleged in a New York Times op-ed that Chris Cuomo grabbed her rear end during a 2005 work party in an Upper West Side bar while telling her, “I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss.”
About an hour later, Ross wrote, he sent her an e-mail in which he apologized and said he was “ashamed” over what he called the “hearty greeting” in front of her husband and co-workers.
Days later, Page Six exclusively revealed that Melanie Buck was replaced as executive producer of “Cuomo Prime Time” in March 2020 after complaining to CNN boss Jeff Zucker, with multiple sources saying she “felt threatened” by the host.
At the time, Buck told Page Six that she and Chris Cuomo “had significant differences, and I asked to leave the show.”
Buck was initially made an executive producer for CNN’s 020 election coverage, live events and taped special programming, then reassigned to work on live morning coverage at CNN+, a new subscription streaming service set to start next year.