Janice Dean, senior meteorologist at Fox News, blistered CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on Friday after he was revealed to have sexually harassed a former boss in 2005.
Dean has been a vocal critic of Cuomo over his series of interviews with his older brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), which deflected some public attention away from the ex-governor’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The former governor resigned his post last month amid a series of accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct.
Dean tore into the younger Cuomo on Friday, saying that she suspected that the account of Cuomo’s misbehavior from 2005 is only one of a “pattern of behavior.”
“This is a very powerful opinion piece. I commend Shelly Ross for having the courage to write it. I’m not as hopeful that Chris Cuomo will change, though. He advised his brother about his sexual harassment accusations and his employer allowed it,” Dean said. Ross previously worked as Cuomo’s boss at ABC News.
“I also think this is a pattern of behavior, and I hope if he’s done this to other women (which I’ve heard he has) they now have the courage to come forward,” Dean added.
Ross wrote an op-ed in The New York Times on Friday describing a 2005 incident where, at a party, Cuomo squeezed “the cheek of my buttock.” Ross wrote:
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 wrote an email to Ross with the subject line, “now that I think of it … I am ashamed.”
He 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 pas 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 …”
Cuomo corroborated Ross’s version of events, saying in a statement in response to the op-ed, “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.”
The CNN host was ripped online over the revealed harassment.
“Listen here, I know it may be an unpopular position and I may be taking a risk in saying this…
But by God, I don’t tolerate GRABBING WOMENS A**ES in the workplace,” conservative commentator Steven Crowder wrote.
“Sounds exactly like something Chris Cuomo would do,” said Chuck Ross, an investigative reporter at The Washington Free Beacon. “So this is the part where Cuomo goes back on vacation and CNN goes dead silent for a week.”
Cuomo’s colleagues at CNN were not spared. Brian Stelter, the network’s chief media correspondent, was pushed online to cover the Cuomo incident as Stelter has for other media personalities.
“Considering your ‘beat’ is media, any thoughts on Chris Cuomo admitting he played grab-a** with a former producer, or are you guys not allowed to report on him again?” conservative radio host and columnist Derek Hunter said.