A veteran TV journalist and producer who was once boss to CNN’s Chris Cuomo claims that Cuomo sexually harassed her once in 2005.
In an op-ed for the New York Times, Shelley Ross explained that while Cuomo promptly apologized for the incident, in which he inappropriately grabbed her buttocks at a bar, that in light of his apparent role in attempts to combat accusations made against his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the younger Cuomo should “journalistically repent.”
The former governor resigned last month after an investigation conducted for the New York attorney general’s office concluded that he’d sexually harassed multiple women.
Chris Cuomo was criticized for advising his older brother on how to respond to the mountain accusations earlier this year, to the point that he was no longer allowed to cover the scandal or host his brother for interviews on air, as he did during the height of the pandemic last year.
Ross wrote this week that in 2005, Cuomo arrived at a party she was attending at a Manhattan bar and “greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock.”
“I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss,” she says he said to her with a “cocky arrogance.”
“No you can’t,” she replied, pushing him away from her to reveal her husband, who had been seated behind her and saw “the entire episode at close range.” The couple then quickly left, and an hour later, she received an apologetic email from Cuomo professing to be “ashamed” and apologizing.
“Mr. Cuomo may say this is a sincere apology,” Ross wrote. Indeed, after being reached for comment on the allegations, Cuomo said “I apologized to her then, and I meant it.”
However, Ross wrote that she’s “always seen it as an attempt to provide himself with legal and moral coverage to evade accountability.”
She made clear that she does not want to see Cuomo fired or to become the latest casualty in the ongoing Andrew Cuomo drama, in which an entire #MeToo era nonprofit dissolved after multiple top figures were accused of playing a role in his sexual harassment allegation response.
“I hope he stays at CNN forever if he chooses,” Ross clarified.
“I would, however, like to see him journalistically repent: agree on air to study the impact of sexism, harassment and gender bias in the workplace, including his own, and then report on it,” she declared.
“He could host a series of live town hall meetings, with documentary footage, produced by women with expert consultants. Call it ‘The Continuing Education of Chris Cuomo’ and make this a watershed moment instead of another stain on the career of one more powerful male news anchor.”
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