CNN has suspended host Chris Cuomo “indefinitely” on Tuesday following news earlier this week that he had tapped sources to seek help for his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, amid sexual harassment and assault allegations against him.
The move comes after materials released Monday by the New York Attorney General’s Office showed that the anchor was not truthful to viewers when he said in August that he did not contact other media members about the scandal.
The newly released material showed that Chris Cuomo tapped sources, including some inside rival outlets, trying to see whether more women were coming forward against his brother with sexual misconduct allegations.
CNN was reviewing the materials before it suspended Cuomo on Tuesday.
“The New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense,” a CNN spokesperson said Tuesday evening. “The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions.”
“When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly. But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second,” the spokesperson continued.
“However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.”
Experts have told The Epoch Times that Chris Cuomo’s behavior violates journalism standards and questioned CNN’s lack of transparency regarding the situation.
“It is unethical for a journalist to use their position, contacts, and influence to help a family member or friend involved in an investigation by law enforcement,” Rebecca Aguilar, president of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), said in an email, adding, “The SPJ Code of Ethics clarifies the rules: Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived, minimize harm and be accountable and transparent.”
Specifically, Chris Cuomo had pressed for information on his brother’s accusers and reported back to the governor’s staff, and was active in helping craft their response to the charges, according to emails and a transcript of his testimony to investigators working for state Attorney General Letitia James.
Her office found Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women.
The former New York governor, a Democrat, resigned in August over the sexual harassment allegations, just as the New York Assembly had begun deliberations on an impeachment inquiry into his conduct. He denied any wrongdoing.
“The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to government,” he said in a speech at the time.
Zachary Stieber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.