Suspend Chris Cuomo from CNN for his Advice to Brother, Urges Women's Group

Women's group UltraViolet has called on CNN to suspend Chris Cuomo after it was revealed that the host had advised his brother, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, on how to publicly handle allegations of sexual harassment.

UltraViolet, which describes itself as an "organization that creates consequences for sexism by holding politicians and thought leaders accountable to all women," issued a statement on Thursday. It has previously urged Governor Cuomo to resign.

Chris Cuomo has apologized for advising the governor and said he would not do so again, but his actions have renewed concerns about his role in the network's coverage of his brother.

UltraViolet communications director Bridget Todd issued a statement calling for Cuomo's suspension, some of which was shared on the group's Twitter account.

"Reports that Chris Cuomo not only joined strategy calls with his brother, Governor Andrew Cuomo, on how to respond to numerous sexual harassment allegations against him, but actively advised his brother to aggressively push back on the allegations, is deeply disturbing and completely unacceptable," the statement said.

Nine women have accused Governor Cuomo of sexual harassment or misconduct. He initially issued an apology but later backtracked, saying it was "not harassment" if he had made the women feel uncomfortable.

Chris Cuomo admitted on Thursday that he had been "looped into calls" with the governor's advisers about how to handle the allegations.

"Make no mistake—this wasn't just a brother talking to his brother about their lives, or even about politics," UltraViolet's statement said.

"This was a major network news anchor advising the Governor of New York to actively push back against sexual harassment allegations and denegrate [sic] survivors of abuse by defining their calls for accountability as 'cancel culture.'

"Even if Chris Cuomo never covered the allegations against his brother on-air, this raises serious questions about how Chris Cuomo covers all sexual harassment allegations. It also raises questions as to whether Cuomo's position at the network could potentially intimidate or silence other reporters who were looking into the story."

The UltraViolet statement concluded: "CNN should immediately suspend Chris Cuomo and conduct a thorough investigation into whether or not his position of authority at the network has impacted how others covered the allegations against his brother, Governor Cuomo.

"Anything less is unacceptable, and further harms survivors of sexual abuse, who are already disinclined to come forward for fear of retaliation from men in power like the Cuomo brothers."

CNN acknowledged in a statement on Thursday that Cuomo's actions had been "inappropriate" and pointed to the fact that he had not been involved in the network's coverage of the allegations against his brother

A CNN spokesperson said: "Chris has not been involved in CNN's extensive coverage of the allegations against Gov. Cuomo—on air or behind the scenes. 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."

Cuomo apologized during his show, Cuomo Prime Time, on Thursday.

"It will not happen again," he said. "It was a mistake because I put my colleagues here, who I believe are the best in the business, in a bad spot … I would never intend for that. And I'm sorry for that."

The network had previously barred Chris Cuomo from covering his brother, but lifted the prohibition early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The host conducted several interviews with the governor, with some critics accusing him of asking softball questions.

On February 18, CNN reinstated its ban on Cuomo reporting on his brother amid a federal probe into whether the governor hid data on COVID in the state's nursing homes. The federal investigation is ongoing.

Newsweek has asked UltraViolet and CNN for comment.

CNN's Chris Cuomo Attends WarnerMedia Upfront 2019
Chris Cuomo of CNN, pictured on the red carpet for a WarnerMedia event in New York City on May 15, 2019. A women's group has called on CNN to suspend Cuomo over his advice to his brother, Governor Andrew Cuomo. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for WarnerMedia