In a surprise announcement Wednesday, CNN President Jeff Zucker announced his resignation after the network had discovered his previously unreported illicit affair with another top executive later identified as Allison Gollust.
Perhaps even more surprising was the reaction to that news from CNN media critic Brian Stelter, who speculated that recently fired CNN host Chris Cuomo was responsible for forcing Zucker to resign over the outed affair, Fox News reported.
In a statement announcing his resignation, Zucker had mentioned that the affair had become known by the network as part of its internal investigation into Chris Cuomo’s unethical efforts to assist his embattled brother, the former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), when the elder Cuomo stood accused of sexual misconduct by several staffers.
Stelter blames Cuomo for Zucker’s resignation
Fox noted that Stelter’s remarks came during a segment in which CNN host Alisyn Camerota first lamented the sudden exit of Zucker and heaped lavish praise on her now-former boss.
“Number one is the Chris Cuomo reference. Cuomo was fired in December and he is not going out quietly,” Stelter said, according to The Daily Caller. “He was fired and there were reports that he wasn’t going to get paid the millions of dollars that were going to be on the remainder of his contract.”
“So, as a source said to me earlier today, he was trying to burn the place down,” he continued with regard to Cuomo. “He was going to court trying to burn the place down and claiming that he had incriminating information about Zucker and Gollust.”
Stelter concluded, “So, if that’s the case, if this is a domino effect that begins with Andrew Cuomo going down in the governor’s office, and then Chris Cuomo being fired from CNN, and then Jeff Zucker losing his job at CNN, that has a remarkable domino effect, a chain of events. I think that is part of the story.”
“Cuomo was fired in December, and he is not going out quietly … He was trying to burn the place down.” — @brianstelter on Jeff Zucker’s resignation pic.twitter.com/o05iuKz9WE
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) February 2, 2022
Other reports bolster Stelter’s account
As it turns out, Stelter was not speaking out of turn or revealing unknown secrets but was simply passing along information that has also been reported by other media outlets.
The New York Post reported in December that Chris Cuomo had lawyered up after being fired and was planning to sue CNN for payment of the remainder of a four-year contract he had signed the year prior, with that remainder estimated to be about $18 million.
Meanwhile, Politico has just recently reported that Cuomo, while still being investigated by CNN before being fired, had reportedly raised the issue of the illicit affair between Zucker and Gollust, who just so happens to have previously worked briefly as a staffer for former Gov. Cuomo.
According to the report, Cuomo’s legal team had called out the glaring hypocrisy of the network host being suspended and fired for the evident conflict of interest involving his politician brother when the network president was not being held accountable for a similar conflict of interest regarding an illicit relationship with a top network staffer.