A high-powered CNN executive with close ties to embattled New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo could be the reason why the network has taken it easy on the “Cuomo Prime Time” namesake for his role in the governor’s ongoing sexual harassment scandal, according to Fox News contributor Ari Fleischer.
CNN continues to take heat for fawning over Gov. Cuomo before his swift fall from grace and failing it punish the network’s most-watched host, Chris Cuomo, for advising his big brother as allegations of sexual harassment poured in. CNN’s most-watched host offered his brother advice and even drafted a statement to respond to the allegations against him in February and isn’t allowed to cover his brother on air.
“CNN has a real ethical problem on its hands,” Fleischer said Wednesday on “American’s Newsroom.”
“The fact that the upper management at CNN, starting with Jeff Zucker the president of CNN, has not disciplined Chris Cuomo, the anchor for his taking a hand in guiding his governor brother through all this, the fact that a CNN anchor actively helped cover up what the governor was doing and worked on message points for the governor to deliver, this is a real ethical problem and CNN is taking no action,” Fleischer continued. “One of the reasons why, and I just have to point this out to the viewers, do you know who is in charge of communications at CNN? Governor Cuomo’s former communications director Allison Gollust.”
Gollust, now CNN’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, was appointed Cuomo’s communications director in 2012 before bolting to join Zucker four months later at CNN.
“She now runs the show, she’s the No. 2 to Jeff Zucker at CNN,” Fleischer said. “One of the reasons why CNN has not taken any disciplinary action against journalist Chris Cuomo is because of the relationship she has with Governor Andrew Cuomo.”
Gollust did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Gollust became close to Zucker after a 15-year tenure at NBC before her work in the Cuomo administration and has since been floated as a candidate to eventually replace Zucker atop the liberal network.
Chris Cuomo was initially prevented by CNN when he joined in 2013 from covering his brother, but the network lifted the ban and allowed them to crack jokes and perform prop comedy during the early month of the coronavirus pandemic. The network reinstated the ban when the governor became wrapped up in multiple scandals. The ban puts CNN in a peculiar situation, as the host of the network’s 9 p.m. ET program isn’t allowed to cover one of the top political stories in the country.
Earlier this year, the “Cuomo Prime Time” host apologized to his CNN colleagues on air for putting them in a “bad spot” when his role in the governor’s scandal was first reported. CNN did not discipline him and he ignored the bombshell story on Tuesday following the state’s attorney general releasing a report that Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women.
Fox News’ David Rutz contributed to this report.