Shelley Ross, who accused CNN anchor Chris Cuomo of sexual harassment in a New York Times op-ed last week, blasted the network anchor again on Friday over his response.
“I was hoping that in 15, 16 years that he had changed, but he’s no more enlightened today than he was then, as demonstrated by his response,” Ross told Business Insider.
Ross wrote an op-ed for The New York Times on Friday detailing an event in 2005 in which Cuomo, who had worked under Ross at ABC News, had groped her during a goodbye celebration for another ABC employee. Ross had recently moved on from being Cuomo’s boss at the time.
“As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature. It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it,” Cuomo responded to her op-ed.
Ross ripped the CNN host, saying that his response showed his lack of personal growth since the incident.
“I don’t acknowledge that there’s anything that was ‘our interaction.’ I was not a participant,” she said. “I was groped. And so to say that I acknowledge interaction, no. That shows a lack of enlightenment.”
Ross wrote in her op-ed that Cuomo approached her at the party and grabbed “the cheek of my buttock” in front of her husband. She explained:
At the time, I was the executive producer of an ABC entertainment special, but I was Mr. Cuomo’s executive producer at “Primetime Live” just before that. I was at the party with my husband, who sat behind me on an ottoman sipping his Diet Coke as I spoke with work friends. When Mr. Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, he walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock.
“I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss,” he said to me with a kind of cocky arrogance. “No you can’t,” I said, pushing him off me at the chest while stepping back, revealing my husband, who had seen the entire episode at close range. We quickly left.
After the incident, Cuomo emailed Ross an apology. “now that I think of it … I am ashamed,” the subject line said. The email continued, “though my hearty greeting was a function of being glad to see you… christian slater got arrested for a (kind of) similar act (though borne of an alleged negative intent, unlike my own) … and as a husband I can empathize with not liking to see my wife patted as such … so pass along my apology to your very good and noble husband … and I apologize to you as well, for even putting you in such a position … next time, I will remember the lesson, no matter how happy I am to see you …”
Ross wrote that Cuomo’s recent actions advising his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), of how to handle the media amid accusations of sexual misconduct suggest that the CNN anchor’s commitment to “truth and accountability” is lacking.
“Now, given Mr. Cuomo’s role as a supporter of and counselor to his brother, I am left again wondering about his relationship with truth and accountability,” Ross wrote. “Has this man always cared ‘deeply’ and ‘profoundly’ about sexual harassment issues? Does he believe enough in accountability to step up and take some meaningful actions?”