Chris Cuomo advised brother Andrew Cuomo to fight sex scandal

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CNN anchor Chris Cuomo advised his big brother Gov. Andrew Cuomo and senior members of his staff on how to handle mounting sexual harassment allegations — and told him to not wind up another victim of “cancel culture,” it was revealed Thursday.

Chris Cuomo, one of the network’s top stars who regularly interviewed his brother at the height of the pandemic in 2020, was part of a series of conference calls held earlier this year, according to the Washington Post. 

According to four people familiar with the calls, the governor’s top aide, communications team, lawyers and outside advisors were all part of the strategy sessions and two of those sources said Chris Cuomo used the term “cancel culture” as a reason to not resign amid the allegations. 

The calls were typically precipitated by impending news stories and requests for comment to the governor — and while Chris Cuomo was a regular fixture in the sessions, he did not lead them and didn’t question the women’s credibility or stories, the paper reported.

The sources said the governor has taken his baby brother’s advice and is already rolling up his sleeves and preparing to fight when investigative reports probing the alleged harassment are finished and published. 

“I’m not going anywhere,” the governor said during one of the recent calls, an ally told the outlet. 

The decision to take part in the calls is a deviation from the journalistic standard that those who are reporting the news shouldn’t be involved in politics, experts told the outlet. 

“If you are actively advising a politician in trouble while being an on-air host on a news network, that’s not okay,” said Nicholas Lemann, a Columbia Journalism School professor and staff writer for the New Yorker. 

CNN acknowledged Chris Cuomo was part of the calls and said in a statement to the outlet his involvement was a mistake and was “inappropriate.” 

“Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes,” the network said in a statement. 

“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 went on, adding the anchor will not face any disciplinary action. 

“He will not participate in such conversations going forward.”

Aides to the governor downplayed Chris Cuomo’s involvement in the calls, saying he was just informally supporting his brother as he faced allegations from at least seven women who said he either touched them inappropriately or made them feel uncomfortable. 

“There were a few phone conversations, with friends and advisers giving the governor advice,” Rich Azzopardi, the governor’s spokesman, told the outlet. 

Despite his media career, Chris Cuomo has long been a confidant for his brother and regularly gives him advice about politics, people who know the men told the outlet. 

“The governor only trusts about five people,” one adviser with knowledge of the calls told the outlet. 

“So that’s why Chris is on these calls.”

As the pandemic ravaged New York last spring, Chris Cuomo regularly interviewed his brother and lauded him for the work that he did but in March when allegations against the governor first came to light, he told viewers he wouldn’t be covering the story. 

“Obviously, I am aware of what is going on with my brother,” Chris Cuomo said on March 1 after a third accuser publicized their allegations.

“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.”

CNN said they made an exception when they allowed their anchor to interview the governor during the height of the pandemic last year because it was a significant human interest story, the outlet said. 

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