OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
It has been around two weeks since former CNN head Jeff Zucker resigned from his position at the network, citing an inappropriate relationship with a co-worker, and now that co-worker has resigned.
Allison Gollust, the former lieutenant to Zucker, resigned after an investigation “into issues associated with” Chris Cuomo, a former CNN anchor, and his brother Andrew, the former governor of New York, a memo sent to staffers by WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said, CNN reported.
“Based on interviews of more than 40 individuals and a review of over 100,000 texts and emails, the investigation found violations of Company policies, including CNN’s News Standards and Practices, by Jeff Zucker, Allison Gollust, and Chris Cuomo,” he said to staffers.
“We have the highest standards of journalistic integrity at CNN, and those rules must apply to everyone equally,” he said. “Given the information provided to me in the investigation, I strongly believe we have taken the right actions and the right decisions have been made.”
Gollust issued a statement announcing her departure from the company on Tuesday.
“WarnerMedia’s statement tonight is an attempt to retaliate against me and change the media narrative in the wake of their disastrous handling of the last two weeks,” she said. “It is deeply disappointing that after spending the past nine years defending and upholding CNN’s highest standards of journalistic integrity, I would be treated this way as I leave. But I do so with my head held high, knowing that I gave my heart and soul to working with the finest journalists in the world.”
Reports have indicted that Chris Cuomo is getting set for a major lawsuit against the network.
After his former boss Jeff Zucker exited the network, sources say that Cuomo wants a settlement of around $60 million, The New York Post reported.
Multiple sources tell Page Six that Cuomo — who was fired in December for helping his brother, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, fend off sexual harassment allegations — is ready to dig his heels in by claiming that Zucker not only knew about his dealings with the governor but that the network boss had his own inappropriate dealings with Andrew.
And he is prepared to demand not the $18 million left on his contract, but as much as $60 million.
“He wants Megyn Kelly money,” sources said to The Post.
“Chris insists he never did anything for his brother Andrew that Zucker didn’t know about,” a source said.
“His camp believes Zucker wasn’t fired for an inappropriate relationship with Allison Gollust. Everybody knew about that and nobody cared.
“What he believes happened is WarnerMedia found something in their investigation into Chris, perhaps internal memos or documents which revealed more about Zucker’s involvement with Andrew Cuomo. Gollust was just a convenient excuse,” they said.
“Chris intends to fight for every dollar on his contract, and loss of income from the 15 to 20 years left in his career, had Zucker not orchestrated a ‘f–k-job’ on him. He could ask for as much as $80 million but CNN isn’t going to pay that. But there’s an argument he could ask for as much as $60 million,” the source said.
Another source said that “Chris is telling people in the Hamptons he was wrongly fired, humiliated, his career has been ruined, and he wants Megyn Kelly money.”
For reference, Kelly got $69 million from NBC after she was fired in 2019 when she defended blackface on her show.
Sources have said that Zucker “coached Andrew Cuomo [on] what to say in his press conferences, particularly how to hit back at President Donald Trump. He advised him when, and where, and what to say. He chastised Andrew if he appeared on other networks.
“When this all finally comes out, it will put an end to the big cry fest going on at CNN over Zucker’s ousting,” they said.
WarnerMedia chief executive Jason Kilar met with CNN staff in DC on Monday the idea of a severance package for Cuomo was talked about and staff did not appear to be on board.
Jake Tapper, the host of the CNN show “The Lead” referred to Cuomo as a “terrorist” who wants to attack the network.
“How do we get past this perception that this is the bad guy winning?” New York Times reporter Michael M. Grynbaum reported.
“Did you think about what message it sends to the journalists in the company and also to the larger public that someone can be found to break with those journalistic standards and then get paid handsomely for it?” CNN host Don Lemon said, the Wall Street Journal reported.