In 2005, CNN’s founder Ted Turner lamented that his network was spending too much time reporting on perverts. “We have a lot of perverts on today and I know that, but is that really news?” Turner said at the time. “You’ve got to cover Michael Jackson, but not three stories about perversion that we do every day as well.”
Fast-forward 17 years, and unfortunately for Turner, one of the top news stories of today is the number of alleged perverts in recent years who have worked at the company he founded. It seems like there could be “three stories about perversion” every day coming from within the network.
To help keep track of the apparent degeneracy, we boiled down the following list in no particular order of firings, forced resignations, and even forgiveness at CNN due to what many would deem grotesque sexual proclivities, or at least an indication that they get their jollies in some very peculiar ways — if everything claimed is actually true.
CNN Senior Producer John Griffin
If the allegations against him are true, this is one of the most disgusting perverts to ever work at CNN. In December 2021, Griffin was fired by the network after being charged with attempting to induce young girls into sexual activity, including allegedly flying girls across the country according to an indictment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
In June of 2020, Griffin advised a mother of 9- and 13-year-old daughters that the mother’s responsibility was to see that her older daughter was “trained properly.” Griffin later transferred over $3,000 to the mother for plane tickets so the mother and her 9-year-old daughter could fly from Nevada to Boston’s Logan airport. The mother and child flew to Boston in July of 2020, where Griffin picked them up in his Tesla and drove them to his Ludlow house. At the house, the daughter was directed to engage in, and did engage in, unlawful sexual activity.
Authorities also claimed, as noted by CNN, that Griffin left an illustrious online trail of his activities:
According to an indictment filed on Thursday, Griffin allegedly paid for and kept an online profile on a “BDSM dating, Fetish, and Kink Site” for several years leading up to July 2020, on which he allegedly wrote he was looking for women who were “sexually ‘submissive’ and ‘open-minded.’”
During conversations on separate online platforms, Griffin allegedly said he believed in “a way of life” in which “women are sexually subservient and inferior to men,” according to the indictment. He allegedly used online platforms to seek parents “who would allow him to train their minor daughters to be sexually subservient,” the indictment said.
“The charges against Mr. Griffin are deeply disturbing. We learned of his arrest Friday afternoon and terminated his employment today,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement at the time.
Griffin has been a longtime producer at the network. Now, he faces 10 years in jail per felony charge.
CNN Producer Rick Saleeby
CNN producer Rick Saleeby, a longtime staffer of Jake Tapper’s, is also accused of fantasizing about raping children, according to Project Veritas. Shortly after the undercover investigative journalism outlet released a video allegedly revealing Saleeby to be a child predator in late 2021 through texts and FaceTimes, the Fairfax County Police launched an investigation into the man.
Following the PV videos, however, Saleeby resigned. All Fairfax PD has said about the matter is that in part they “will eventually be transparent about our findings, safeguarding the personal privacy and safety of victims and witnesses as well as maintaining the integrity of our criminal investigation are of paramount importance…” and that “Detectives assigned to the Child Exploitation Squad of the Major Crimes Bureau are leading the investigation,” into Saleeby.
But not all the potential pervs targeted children at CNN, others were accused of making sexually advancements on colleagues.
CNN Supervising Producer Steve Brusk
What is it with Tapper producers leaving the company after being accused of inappropriate behaviors? In 2019, Steve Brusk resigned from Jake Tapper’s show after Project Veritas recorded — the first time — Saleeby discussing in detail how Brusk would make unwelcomed moves on female colleagues. Here’s how Fox News reported it at the time:
A CNN producer abruptly resigned, according to a Thursday report, just weeks after he was implicated by another network staffer of sexual misconduct, in leaked videos from the controversial conservative watchdog group Project Veritas.
In October, Steve Brusk, CNN Politics’ supervising producer, was accused of “making advances” at female employees at social gatherings. He allegedly would “put his arms around them” and “try and touch their leg” as well as being “flirty and inappropriate” in email exchanges, according to Rick Saleeby, whom Project Veritas identified as a senior producer for “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
“I’ll tell you this. In this climate that’s going on right now, he definitely would have been fired,” Saleeby told an undercover journalist for Project Veritas, who was secretly recording the conversation.
Saleeby was saying Brusk would have been fired? It takes one to know one, I suppose.
Brusk has never been charged with anything, but his fleeing the company certainly adds to suspicion about what exactly he did at CNN. When asked why Brusk was never fired, Saleeby reportedly suspected his longevity and company executives shielded him:
“Partly, and he’s protected by certain people there,” Saleeby responded. “Value him or like him… like the other higher-ups there.
CNN Host Elliot Spitzer, Former Governor of New York
Former Governor of New York Elliot Spitzer may be long forgotten, but in June 2010, CNN gave Spitzer a role c0-hosting a primetime show with columnist Kathleen Parker called “Parker Spitzer.” Parker left in February 2011 — amid speculation that poor ratings were to blame — and the show was changed to “In the Arena,” hosted solo by Spitzer. It didn’t even last the year.
Readers may be thinking there’s nothing twisted about a news network hiring a high profile politician for a TV slot. Well, Spitzer was hired after he resigned from his gubernatorial post after getting caught in a New York prostitution ring.
Spitzer resigned in 2008 after he was busted making at least seven to eight trips to a high end prostitution ring, spending upwards of $15,000, though prosecutors stated that it was closer to $80,000. Spitzer was never charged because, according to authorities, he never misused public funds or campaign funds for his dalliances.
That was good enough for CNN and they gave the guy a job.
CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin
Now it’s time for a real doozy. Jeffrey Toobin, a man accused of impregnating his mistress and pressuring her into getting an abortion, was busted in 2021 for masturbating while on a work call. But not just any call, a Zoom call where his colleagues could see everything in plain sight. The weirdest part was that Toobin explained his actions by claiming he thought the camera was off. How that would excuse doing that during a work day on a Zoom call — regardless of the context — is unclear. He was suspended for eight months.
Upon his return, Alisyn Camerota interviewed him about the incident on live TV. What sort of company leaves a woman to interview her co-worker about the lessons he has learned about not pleasuring yourself as a grown man during a work call? CNN, that’s what company. Sickos.
Toobin’s actions were so lurid, his last name became a euphemism for the act he was caught doing. But, somehow, CNN forgave Toobin and he is now back on TV nearly every night. You can watch his “welcome back party” here.
CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo
The fired CNN anchor had a sordid history with the network for outside activities — not necessarily related to personal accusations of sexual harrassment. He was caught assisting with public relations for his brother Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) as his policies led to the deaths of thousands in Empire State nursing homes. Then, it was revealed the TV anchor was helping his gubernatorial sibling with statements and secret research into accusers who alleged that Andrew had sexually harrassed them for some number of years.
It obviously did not work because the New York Attorney General Letitia James launched an initial investigation into whether or not he could be charged for anything. Andrew subsequently resigned, but his brother at CNN was not allowed such a graceful exit. An internal investigation at the network revealed that Cuomo the younger actually was much more involved with his older brother’s PR strategy than had initially been realized.
Cuomo was placed on suspension in December for assisting in the sexual harassment media defense of his brothers, but then the bomb dropped. Chris was also accused of sexual harrssment. He was fired by CNN shortly thereafter. Debra Katz, an attorney representing the accuser, released the following statement in part:
In the wake of public sexual harassment allegations against former Governor Andrew Cuomo, Chris Cuomo looked directly into the camera and told viewers of Cuomo Prime Time, “I have always cared very deeply about these issues and profoundly so. I just wanted to tell you that.” Subsequently, the Attorney General released jaw-dropping documentary evidence demonstrating that Chris Cuomo played an active role in attempting to smear women whom the Attorney General concluded had made serious allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct against the Governor. Hearing the hypocrisy of Chris Cuomo’s on-air words and disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women, my client retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN.
Immediately after Katz brought the information to CNN, Cuomo was fired. He hasn’t been charged with anything, but what was the claim that got Cuomo to be fired — especially after they kept Toobin around? We may never know.
CNN President Jeff Zucker
The latest individual implicated in sexual misconduct at the company is CEO’s former president Jeff Zucker. Zucker resigned this past week after the investigation into former employee Cuomo revealed that the media leader had a consensual, non-disclosed relationship with one of his colleagues, Allison Gollust. Zucker claims it is completely consensual and Gollust has not alleged any sexual harrassments. Others say it was an “open secret,” while some have even suggested that the relationship had been suspected of going on for years — including while the two were married — as Katie Couric, a former Zucker staffer at NBC, said Gollust and Zucker were “joined at the hip.”
If it were a consensual relationship between two adults after a divorce, that does not necessarily make it “perversion” — as CNN’s founder might have complained about so many years ago. If they were having an affair, which Couric hints she believed may have been the case, then this is obviously a bigger scandal.
But for now, the real perversion here is a disorder of the mind on two-parts; Zucker’s judgment is distorted for not thinking he had to disclose it. Gollust also apparently received promotions as Zucker rose the ranks. That clearly looks bad.
The second lapse in critical thinking occurred within the CNN employees who could not figure out why Zucker had to go. Many acted like the guy died or something. After Zucker resigned, CNN executive Michael Bass told the entire editorial team on CNN’s daily call, “I know we’re all in shock.”
“You can’t replace Jeff. It’s not possible,” he claimed. “There’s no one else like him.”
So, “the best thing we can do is honor his legacy and continue his mission…Do what we’ve been doing every single day.”
So, there you have it. They say your worst fear consumes you. We’re sorry to break the news to Turner, but it looks like alleged perverts have consumed his network, making the news so horrendous as he was afraid would happen.
Turner one time told his staff he “would like to see us return to a little more international coverage on the domestic feed and a little more environmental coverage and, maybe, a little less of the pervert of the day.”
What he could not have known is that in the year 2022, many Americans feel the exact same way about the network — only this time it’s about the news going on inside the network rather than what they report on each day.
A previous version of this article incorrectly said that the Fairfax County Police launched an investigation into Rick Saleeby in “late 2022.” This has been updated.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.