“He would, like, make advances if there was a social gathering and they were drunk … put his arms around them, try and touch their leg. Try and build up emails to the level where he would get flirty and inappropriate,” Rick Saleeby, senior producer on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” show, said in the footage.
He was referring to Steve Brusk, supervising producer and coverage manager for the CNN White House and political units.
Project Veritas reached out to Brusk for comment; he referred the inquiry to the CNN public relations department. CNN ultimately didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Saleeby voiced the allegation to an undercover reporter with Project Veritas, an investigative journalism nonprofit.
He recalled seeing Brusk getting inappropriate with a 21-year-old woman, at a going-away party for a coworker. The woman was “actually a good friend of mine,” he said. “She had just gotten hired after being an intern.”
As the woman was getting drunk, Brusk got close to her and put his arm around her.
When Brusk tried to touch the woman’s thigh, Saleeby intervened, he said. “She had a skirt on. I could see the hand.”
Saleeby said he grabbed the woman to “keep her from him” and gave Brusk a threatening look. He felt the need to step in “because she was drunk. He had his arm around her. And in the setting, like any other time ever, they’d barely speak.” He expressed a belief that Brusk would have taken advantage of the woman.
Later, Saleeby learned that Brusk “had already been accused of the things prior.”
Saleeby said that Brusk, who’s been with the network for at least 15 years, hasn’t faced repercussions for his behavior, because “he is protected by certain people there … like other higher-ups.”
Nick Neville, a CNN news associate, also shared a story about Brusk, saying a fellow news associate, a young woman, was working closely with Brusk and then suddenly gained a position on Brusk’s team.
“She was like, ‘Oh, it’s hush-hush.’ The job was never posted anywhere. I was like, ‘What is that? I just thought it was a little strange. Was there an agreement? What happened there?’” Neville was recorded as saying.
The recordings were released by Project Veritas on Oct. 22 as Part Four of its series focused on CNN. The previous releases showed employees complaining about the quality of CNN’s news coverage, particularly the cable network’s incessant focus on President Donald Trump.
They largely blamed their issues with the network on its top leadership, particularly CNN President Jeff Zucker.
In one of the previous videos, Neville said that Zucker “has a personal vendetta against Trump,” at least partly going back to when Trump worked with Zucker on “The Apprentice” reality TV show.
Included were recordings of Zucker indicating he’s insisted that CNN must maximally focus on pushing the story of Democrats trying to impeach Trump, over the objections by staffers that the push is harming CNN’s ability to properly cover the news.