CNN anchor Chris Cuomo inappropriately participated in conference calls with his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), and the governor's staff, giving advice on how the governor should respond to multiple allegations of sexual harassment levied by several women earlier this year, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
CNN admitted in a statement that Cuomo, one of the network's leading anchors, participated in the strategy calls with the New York governor's top advisers and said it was wrong for him to do so.
"Chris has not been involved in CNN's extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes," the network told the Post. "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."
While anchoring his nightly news program on CNN, Cuomo "joined a series of conference calls that included the Democratic governor's top aide, his communications team, lawyers and a number of outside advisers," according to anonymous sources who spoke to the Post.
The calls happened earlier this year as scandal erupted around the governor, who is accused of non-consensual touching or making unwanted sexual advances towards aides who worked in his office and other women.
The governor vehemently denied the allegations against him and has resisted calls to resign from Democratic lawmakers and lashed out at his opponents, vowing not to bow to "cancel culture." He said he apologizes if he unintentionally made some women feel uncomfortable, but denies that "feeling uncomfortable" is equivalent to sexual harassment. A 2019 law Cuomo signed defines sexual harassment as "unwelcome verbal or physical behavior based on a person's gender."
At least part of the governor's defiant response seems to be a strategy suggested by his younger brother, the cable news anchor.
Chris Cuomo reportedly "encouraged his brother to take a defiant position and not to resign from the governor's office," the Post reported. "At one point, he used the phrase 'cancel culture' as a reason to hold firm in the face of the allegations, two people present on one call said."
CNN, which has happily provided a propaganda platform for the New York governor on "Cuomo Prime Time," said their anchor Cuomo will not face disciplinary action for this violation of journalistic norms.