CNN president Jeff Zucker told staffers that suspending Chris Cuomo was “the appropriate course of action” Wednesday morning — amid widespread anger among employees, including anchor Jake Tapper, that he took so long to oust him, according to reports.
Zucker made the remark during a daily news meeting at which subordinates were not able to ask the network boss about the controversy rocking their network, according to a Washington Post media reporter.
“I felt it was the appropriate course of action,” Zucker reportedly said.
“We will keep you posted on how we deal with programming going forward.”
The opaque comments followed CNN’s Tuesday evening announcement that Cuomo, 51, was suspended “indefinitely” over records released by state Attorney General Letitia James that detail his secret efforts to defend older brother Andrew Cuomo from the sexual harassment allegations that forced his resignation as governor in August.
The network said the documents “raise serious questions” and that Chris Cuomo was suspended “pending further evaluation.”
Tapper is one of several high-profile CNN journalists who pressured Zucker to act after the material from James’ probe of Andrew Cuomo was made public this week, the Daily Beast reported.
Chris Cuomo “was surviving because it didn’t make Zucker look bad. Now it is,” a journalist who formerly worked for Zucker told the Daily Beast.
The benching of the “Cuomo Prime Time” star — who reportedly earns $6 million a year — also came shortly after Washington Post media critic Eric Wemple took Zucker to task in a column that blamed him for not investigating “months ago, before the damning emails and texts surfaced.”
“Any mid-level producer who did a comparable amount of line-crossing would have met the full wrath of the CNN News Standards and Practices Policy Guide,” Wemple wrote.
Chris Cuomo’s team was preparing for his 9 p.m. show when CNN announced his suspension around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, the network reported.
Chris Cuomo was “emotional” when he met with the staffers afterward and fellow host Anderson Cooper’s team was forced to scramble so he could fill in at the last minute, CNN said.
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