CNN anchor and chief media correspondent Brian Stelter on Wednesday called out his colleague Chris Cuomo for his silence on the sexual harassment allegations against his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“There’s no relationship quite like it in politics or media: A pair of brothers, one governing the fourth-biggest state in the country, the other hosting one of the most prominent shows on cable TV. Right now, both men are standing in a very bright spotlight,” Stelter wrote in his “Reliable Sources” newsletter.
The governor sexually harassed at least 11 women, an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office found. The report on the investigation was released on Tuesday. The report also detailed Chris Cuomo’s role in advising his brother on the sexual harassment allegations.
Chris Cuomo’s “role as a member of his brother’s inner circle” is detailed in the attorney general’s report and “raises serious questions about journalistic responsibilities and ethics,” Stelter wrote.
Stelter noted that Cuomo did not address the accusations against his brother on his CNN primetime show on Tuesday or Wednesday.
“Chris surely has a lot to say about his brother. But for the time being he is staying silent,” Stelter wrote.
“On the air, he has sounded protective of his brother at times; bitter about the political warfare at other times; and detached from it at other times. Overall, I’d say, he sounded realistic about life as a member of his famous political family,” Stelter added.
Stelter defended his network’s handling of the scandal in general, however, saying CNN’s coverage of the governor was “scathing all afternoon and evening” on Tuesday.
According to the report, Cuomo violated federal and state laws by sexually harassing current and former New York state employees, as well as several women outside of state government, including members of the public. The report found that Cuomo touched their “intimate body parts” without consent and engaged in “unwanted groping, kissing, hugging.” Cuomo also made “numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature.”
In March, after several women came forward to accuse Governor Cuomo of sexual harassment, Chris Cuomo said on his show that he is aware of the scandals plaguing his brother but he cannot cover them “because he is my brother.”
However in spring last year, during the dog days of the pandemic in New York City, Cuomo frequently invited his brother on his show during which they exchanged light-hearted banter, joking about who was their mother’s favorite and how big of a Q-tip Governor Cuomo would need for a coronavirus test.
Meanwhile, Cuomo was also weathering his administration’s dismal handling of the coronavirus in nursing homes, where thousands died last year due to the governor’s disastrous policy of forcing nursing homes to accept coronavirus-positive patients after they were discharged from the hospital. In February, a Cuomo aide admitted to covering up the actual nursing home death toll in New York in order to hide the data from federal authorities.
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