Chris Cuomo Hits CNN With $125 Million Arbitration Demand After Firing
The former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo is beginning his anticipated legal battle against the network that fired him in December 2021. He is seeking a hefty $125 million in damages and is saying he was a “scapegoat” for the network and former executives Jeff Zucker and Allison Gollust.
Cuomo, who began at the network as the host of New Day in 2013, was fired in relation to journalistic ethics violations when it was revealed he was advising his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) when he was accused of sexual harassment. Cuomo and his legal team are now hitting back with claims that execs Zucker and Gollust have shifted networks standards frequently in the name of higher ratings.
Cuomo’s attorney Bryan Freedman said in the court docs filed today that his firing was unjust and said that CNN was “caving to uninformed public and internal pressure,” when they suspended him. They also claimed that while CNN initially told Cuomo that he wasn’t allowed to interview his brother anymore following a late 2013 appearance, they “modified this network policy when it saw an opportunity to exploit the Cuomo family relationship for its own purposes,” in early 2020 during the beginning of the pandemic.
Freedman also suggested that CNN not only heavily encouraged the interviews but also worked to limit Andrew Cuomo’s appearances elsewhere. “CNN pushed Gov. Cuomo not to appear on other networks, intimating that not honoring CNN’s request might threaten Cuomo’s professional standing with the network,” one part of Freedman’s filing read.
Regarding Chris Cuomo advising his brother during his sexual harassment scandal, the filing read that, “Cuomo did what he could to support and assist his brother in responding to the allegations and defending his innocence.” Cuomo’s camp is arguing that these actions were fair because “he was always transparent to CNN about his role as a confidant to his brother, and he never reported on the allegations.”
Zucker and Gollust were even accused of the same actions that got Cuomo fired. Freedman said Cuomo was blindsided by hearing he was in violation of ethics standards because “Zucker and Gollust had encouraged him to do so and had themselves provided advice to Gov. Cuomo.” They called CNN’s network policies a “moving target.”
The amount Cuomo is seeking, $125 million, reportedly accounts for salary still owed as well as, “future wages lost as a result of CNN’s efforts to destroy his reputation in violation of the Agreement.” CNN has yet to respond to the demand for arbitration.