Terminated CNN anchor Chris Cuomo could be gearing up to go after his former employer for a $60 million payout — ostensibly to cover the remainder of his contract as well as money he could have made in the future — according to a report from Page Six.
Cuomo was fired by CNN in December after an independent investigation revealed that he had been far more instrumental in assisting his brother — former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) — as he navigated numerous sexual harassment allegations.
Former CNN president Jeff Zucker also left the company abruptly last week, citing his own failure to disclose a personal relationship with his longtime colleague Allison Gollust — who is remaining with CNN.
But according to Page Six, Cuomo and his team are not buying Zucker’s explanation for his sudden exit:
“His camp believes Zucker wasn’t fired for an inappropriate relationship with Allison Gollust. Everybody knew about that and nobody cared.
“What he believes happened is WarnerMedia found something in their investigation into Chris, perhaps internal memos or documents which revealed more about Zucker’s involvement with Andrew Cuomo. Gollust was just a convenient excuse.”
Sources told Page Six that Cuomo felt like Zucker “orchestrated a f*** job” on him, ruining a career that could have spanned another 15-20 years — and for that reason, they say he could go to CNN and demand as much as $80 million: the $18 million remaining on his contract when he was terminated as well as lost wages for the years he believes the network cost him when they let him go. CNN, they noted, was not likely to come across with $80 million — but said Cuomo could cut his losses and demand a figure closer to $60 million.
“Chris is telling people in the Hamptons he was wrongly fired, humiliated, his career has been ruined, and he wants Megyn Kelly money,” another source said, referencing the $69 million settlement Kelly got when she left NBC amid a controversy over comments she made about blackface.
Since Zucker’s ouster, Cuomo’s former colleagues at CNN have blamed him for costing them their leadership. Anchor Jake Tapper implied that Cuomo was essentially a terrorist making demands and burning things down when he didn’t get his way.
As The Daily Wire reported:
Many have speculated that Cuomo might have leveraged information about Zucker in an attempt to either get revenge for his own recent termination or to pressure executives at the network to pay out the remainder of his contract — and Tapper said that any outsider who happened to be looking at the network’s current state of affairs might believe he had been successful.
From the report, written by Benjamin Mullin:
During the question-and-answer session, anchor Jake Tapper said that Mr. Cuomo hired a lawyer who seemed eager to leak damaging information about Mr. Zucker unless they gave Mr. Cuomo severance.
“An outside observer might say, ‘Well, it looks like Chris Cuomo succeeded,’” Mr. Tapper said. “He threatened Jeff. Jeff said we don’t negotiate with terrorists. And Chris blew the place up. How do we get past that perception that this is the bad guy winning?”