Former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was forced to resign in disgrace earlier this year amid multiple claims of sexual misconduct.
Now, his younger brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, is facing allegations of his own.
“A strong bear hug”
A woman who once served as the younger Cuomo’s executive producer during his stint at ABC claims he sexually harassed her at a going-away party for a colleague.
According to Shelley Ross, the incident occurred in 2005, shortly after she stepped down as an executive producer for Primetime Live.
In an op-ed, Ross claimed that Cuomo approached her “with a strong bear hug” before grabbing her buttocks. He allegedly told her that he could “do this now” that she was not his boss, to which she replied that he could not and pushed him away from her.
She said her husband witnessed the incident and they left the party soon afterward.
In a subsequent email, Cuomo reportedly wrote that he felt “ashamed” for his actions and insisted that he did not have “negative intent” for the behavior.
“Use his power to make change”
“Pass along my apology to your very good and noble husband,” he reportedly wrote, going on to apologize to Ross for putting her “in such a position.”
Although Ross acknowledged the apology, she asserted that it was likely an effort to give himself legal cover rather than a statement of sincere regret. She noted that she is not attempting to get Cuomo fired from CNN, but shared a hope that he would “use his power to make change.”
Ross went on to highlight a concerning pattern of behavior involving Cuomo, who is said to have been among a number of people advising his brother as allegations of sexual harassment and assault piled up against the then-governor.
She accused CNN of “moving on” from that situation and said she wants to see “accountability” for those who aided in covering up and defending the misdeeds of the former governor. It remains to be seen whether Chris Cuomo or his current employer take her up on the challenge.
CNN did not immediately respond to the latest controversy. For his part, the host issued a statement declaring: “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.”