CNN host Chris Cuomo privately coached his New York Governor brother Andrew Cuomo on how to handle sex pest claims despite refusing to cover the story on air.
The cable news anchor hit out at ‘cancel culture,’ while doing so, and now faces fresh hypocrisy allegations over how he has covered his brother’s scandals.
Andrew also advised taxpayer-funded New York state officials on how to help his sibling weather the storm.
CNN have admitted his behavior was inappropriate, but say the have no plans to punish him.
The cable news anchor encouraged his brother to take a defiant position and not to resign from the governor’s office after the sexual harassment scandal exploded in December 2020, people who listened to the calls told the
He did so despite claiming it would be inappropriate to cover the scandal – which ballooned to include allegations by nine different women – on air.
Chris Cuomo and CNN now face being branded hypocrites after granting Governor Cuomo hours of air time during the early days of the COVID-19 crisis last year.
Chris would regularly interview his brother and heap praise on him for the Empire State’s handling of the pandemic – despite claims their close family ties made such coverage unprofessional and inappropriate.
Commenting on the coaching scandal, a CNN spokesman said: ‘Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes.’
CNN host Chris Cuomo (right) took part in strategy sessions with his bother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (left) and his staff, raising ethical concerns
Andrew Cuomo is seen on a call in March, as the allegations against him piled up. His brother took part in strategy calls and urged him not to give into ‘cancel culture’
‘In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother.’
‘However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges,’ the statement added. ‘He will not participate in such conversations going forward.’
The network said Chris Cuomo will not be disciplined for his participation in the strategy sessions.
The conference calls took place earlier this year, with a total of nine women accusing the Democratic governor of making inappropriate remarks, lewd suggestions, or unwanted physical contact.
Chris Cuomo remained notably silent on the air as the scandal unfolded, and was similarly quiet over a parallel outrage his brother’s handling of pandemic deaths in nursing homes.
‘Obviously, I am aware of what is going on with my brother,’ he finally told viewers on March 1, as the allegations piled up.
The governor made numerous appearances on his own brother’s show last year, for lighthearted interviews that featured brotherly banter
‘And obviously I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now, of course CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and they will continue to do so. I have always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so. I just want to tell you that,’ he said.
No such coverage ban was in place last year, when Andrew Cuomo was at the height of his popularity leading the COVID response in New York.
The governor made numerous appearances on his own brother’s show, for lighthearted interviews that featured brotherly banter.
Sources tell the Post that Chris and Andrew, who are 13 years apart in age, are very close, and that the CNN host is among the handful of people whom the governor trusts for advice.
Cuomo has repeatedly denied the claims against him, and rejected calls for his resignation
Favors in the family extend both ways, and Andrew Cuomo came in for criticism after it emerged that he had ordered state health officials to rush to his brother’s Long Island home to test him for COVID last March.
The Wall Street Journal reported late in March that the New York state attorney general’s office had subpoenaed dozens of officials in Governor Cuomo’s administration as part of the probe into sexual harassment accusations.
Cuomo has repeatedly denied these claims, and rejected calls for his resignation from fellow Democrats, including New York’s two U.S. senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
He has asked New Yorkers to await the results of State Attorney General Letitia James investigation into the claims.
The women who’ve accused Gov Andrew Cuomo of harassment
Lindsay Boylan, 36
Former aide Lindsay Boylan, 36, was the first woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment in a Medium post on February 24. She claimed that the governor asked her to play strip poker and kissed her on the lips without her permission when she worked for him in 2017.
Lindsay Boylan, 36
Charlotte Bennett, 25
Charlotte Bennett, 25, came forward a few days after Boylan and claimed that Cuomo sexually harassed her last June while she was working as a health policy adviser in his administration at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
Bennett accused Cuomo of ‘grooming’ her and asking inappropriate questions about her sex life.
She also claimed that he told her he was open to dating women in their 20s.
BENNETT said the governor asked her about her love life – including whether she ever had sex with older men – and talked about his own, saying that age differences didn’t matter in relationships and he was open to dating women over 22.
During a meeting alone in his office, the governor said he was lonely and talked about wanting to hug someone, Bennett said.
She said she swiftly complained to Cuomo’s chief of staff and was transferred to another job.
She said she spoke to a lawyer for the governor, but didn´t insist on further action because she liked her new post and wanted to move on.
Charlotte Bennett, 25
Anna Ruch, 33
Anna Ruch was the third woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment and the only one thus far who did not work with him in a professional capacity. She claimed that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her just moments after they met at a September 2019 wedding in Manhattan.
Anna Ruch, 33
Ana Liss, 35
Ana Liss, 35, a former aide, said Cuomo asked her whether she had a boyfriend, once kissed her hand at her desk and called her by patronizing names, including ‘blondie,’ ‘sweetheart’ and ‘honey.’
At a reception, the governor hugged her then put his arm around her lower back and waist as they posed for photo, Liss said.
She said she eventually asked for a job transfer. In an interview, Liss said she was ‘not claiming sexual harassment per se,’ but felt the administration ‘wasn’t a safe space for young women to work.’
Liss, who previously served as Cuomo’s policy and operations aide between 2013 and 2015, told the Wall Street Journal that during her time in his administration, the governor had subjected her to unsolicited advances, including touching her lower back, kissing her hand and quizzing her about her love life.
Ana Liss, 35
Karen Hinton, 62
The oldest allegations against Cuomo came from Karen Hinton, who served as a press aide for him when he led the US Department of Housing and Urban Development two decades ago and she was a consultant for the agency. Hinton told the Washington Post about a 2000 incident when she said Cuomo summoned her to his ‘dimly lit’ hotel room and embraced her after a work event. She said she tried to pull away from Cuomo when he pulled her back and held her before she managed to escape the room.
Karen Hinton, 62
Unnamed sixth accuser
The most damning allegations leveled against Cuomo to date came from a sixth accuser, whose name has not been released.
The accuser, who is a member of Cuomo’s staff, alleged that he closed a door, reached under her blouse and fondled her after summoning her to the governor’s mansion in Albany for help with his cellphone, according to the Times Union of Albany.
It first reported on her accusation last month; she then gave more detail in her first interview on the matter, published Wednesday.
The woman spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her privacy, although her identity is known within the governor´s circle, the Times Union reported.
The woman, an executive assistant, told the Times Union the governor gave her kisses on the cheek and inappropriately tight hugs for years and made remarks including, ‘If you were single, the things that I would do to you’ and ‘I’m single and ready to mingle.’
Then, one day in November, she was summoned to his Executive Mansion office to help him with a cellphone problem, she said.
He got up from his desk, started groping her and told her ‘I don’t care’ after she tried to deflect him by saying he was going to get them into trouble, and then he slammed the door, she said.
Then he reached under her blouse and clutched one of her breasts over her bra, she told the newspaper.
The woman told a colleague this winter about the alleged encounter, and the co-worker told a supervisor in early March, according to the newspaper.
Cuomo called the report ‘gut-wrenching’ in a March statement and said: ‘I have never done anything like this.’
Another female aide, who has remained anonymous, claimed he called her to his Executive Mansion last year, reached under her blouse and fondled her
Jessica Bakeman claimed in a first-person article for New York Magazine that she was sexually harassed by Cuomo on several occasions since the start of her journalism career in 2012.
Bakeman added her voice as the seventh accuser as she detailed inappropriate touching by the governor as he continued to deny all of the claims.
‘He took my hand, as if to shake it, then refused to let go,’ Bakeman wrote of an interaction with Cuomo as she said goodnight at a holiday party in 2014 when she was only 25 years old.
‘He put his other arm around my back, his hand on my waist, and held me firmly in place while indicating to a photographer he wanted us to pose for a picture.’
At the time Bakeman had been working for what is now Politico New York and claimed that red flags went up as her ‘job was to analyze and scrutinize him’.
‘I didn’t want a photo of him with his hands on my body and a smile on my face,’ she wrote.
Jessica Bakeman, a reporter who once covered the Cuomo administration, was the seventh woman to come forward with claims of harassment
‘But I made the reflexive assessment that most women and marginalized people know instinctively, the calculation about risk and power and self-preservation. I knew it would be far easier to smile for the brief moment it takes to snap a picture than to challenge one of the most powerful men in the country.’
In an earlier 2012 incident while she was working for USA Today, Bakeman also claims that Cuomo kept her pinned to his side as he told a story to her male colleagues.
‘He left it there, and kept me pinned next to him, for several minutes as he finished telling his story,’ she said. ‘I stood there, my cheeks hot, giggling nervously as my male colleagues did the same. We all knew it was wrong, but we did nothing.’
The reporter, who now works in Florida, claimed that Cuomo ‘never let me forget I was a woman’ as she also alleged that he made frequent attempts to humiliate her, including calling out her purple phone instead of answering her question during a press gaggle.
Alyssa McGrath, 33
McGrath, a current administrative assistant in Cuomo’s office, told The New York Times that he looked down her shirt, quizzed her about her marital status, and told her she was beautiful, using an Italian phrase she had to ask her parents to interpret.
McGrath didn’t say the governor made sexual contact with her but thought his behavior was sexual harassment.
She recalled Cuomo kissing her on the forehead and gripping her firmly around the sides while posing for a photo at a 2019 office Christmas party.
Alyssa McGrath (pictured) is one of two aides who have come forward to accuse the governor of harassment
Sherry Vill, 55
Sherry Vill, 55, accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct during a press conference with her attorney Gloria Allred on Monday.
She alleges Cuomo grabbed her face and kissed her ‘aggressively and in a sexual manner’ on both cheeks in May 2017 while he was touring her home in
Vill, who said she felt uncomfortable at the time, shared an image her daughter took on the day that showed Cuomo holding her face as he kissed her cheek and her attorney held up multiple photos showing the Governor inside her home.
The same photos appear on Cuomo’s Flickr account, as well as multiple others that show him kissing and greeting residents as he toured the town.
None of the women in the other photos have accused the governor of inappropriate behavior or wrongdoing.
Sherry Vill, 55, accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct on Monday. Vill, who said she felt uncomfortable at the time, shared an image her daughter took on the day that showed Cuomo holding her face as he kissed her cheek