CNN anchor Brian Stelter said Wednesday that although he believed colleague Chris Cuomo’s indefinite suspension was “a long time coming,” it could also be short-lived.
Stelter made an appearance on CNN’s morning show “New Day” to discuss the suspension, announced Tuesday afternoon, in the wake of documents released by the New York Attorney General’s office. Those documents indicated that Cuomo had had a much larger role in advising his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, amid the sexual harassment and assault allegations against him.
Stelter, noting that Cuomo was one of the highest-rated hosts on CNN, said that nonetheless the suspension had been a long time coming — especially after Cuomo had been forced to admit in May that he had advised his brother and apologize for putting the network in an awkward position.
“It was known that Chris Cuomo was talking to his brother, giving political advice, but in the newly released documents you can see that Chris Cuomo is essentially working as an unpaid adviser, an aide, as if he’s a staffer of the governor, giving political advice and giving commentary, also working his own sources to try to find out more about what might be revealed about his brother,” Stelter continued, going on to add that some at CNN had been angry that the network had not taken action earlier.
“You have media critics condemning Chris, calling on CNN to take action. You have colleagues here at CNN who were mad at Chris Cuomo for putting the network in a tough spot and wanted to see action. You also have a lot of viewers, though, who love Chris Cuomo and are now ticked off that he’s off the air and want to see him back,” Stelter added, conceding that the situation was certainly a complicated one.
“I think the bottom line is that Cuomo is on the bench, for now, we’re heading into a holiday season. I think it is possible he will be on the bench for several weeks, it is possible he’ll be back in January,” he said.
CNN released a statement Tuesday announcing Cuomo’s suspension, as reported previously by The Daily Wire:
The New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense. The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions. When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly. But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second. However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.
Cuomo responded to the suspension on his SiriusXM radio show, “Let’s Get After It,” saying, “I’ve been suspended from CNN…. You know this already. It hurts to even say it. It’s embarrassing, but I understand it. And I understand why some people feel the way they do about what I did. I’ve apologized in the past, and I mean it. It’s the last thing I ever wanted to do, was compromise any of my colleagues.”