CNN chief Jeff Zucker has officially resigned from the network after an investigation into former anchor Chris Cuomo revealed that Zucker had not disclosed a consensual relationship with an unnamed colleague.
Zucker announced his resignation in a staff memo, made public by The New York Times.
“As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo’s tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years,” Zucker wrote. “I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong. As a result, I am resigning today.”
Zucker continued, “I came to CNN on January 28, 2013. Together, we had nine great years. I certainly wish my tenure here had ended differently. But it was an amazing run. And I loved every minute.”
CNN’s Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter tweeted that Zucker’s announcement “stunned” staff members, and cited that the relationship was allegedly with CNN’s Chief Marketing Officer, who is thus far remaining at CNN.
“Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years. Recently, our relationship changed during COVID. I regret that we didn’t disclose it at the right time,” Chief Marketing Officer Allison Gollust said in a statement, as reported by Stelter.
Gollust previously worked as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s communications director. Gollust and Zucker were rumored to have been linked for years by tabloids.
Stelter added, “To summarize: Jeff Zucker says he resigned from CNN because of his relationship with Allison Gollust, a former Andrew Cuomo adviser, came up during an investigation into Chris Cuomo, who advised Andrew Cuomo as he faced a sexual misconduct investigation.”
The Washington Post previously reported that “Cuomo Prime Time” anchor Chris Cuomo participated in several conference calls with the former New York governor’s top aide, communication team, lawyers, and outside advisors to advise Andrew Cuomo, who has been accused of sexual harassment by at least seven women since December 2020.
“Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes,” a CNN spokesperson told IndieWire in an email. “In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother. However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges. He will not participate in such conversations going forward.”
“When my brother’s situation became turbulent, being looped into calls with other friends of his and advisers that did include some of his staff, I understand why that was a problem for CNN,” Chris Cuomo said, per Deadline. “It will not happen again. It was a mistake because I put my colleagues here who I believe are the best in the business in a bad spot. I never intended for that. I would never intend for that, and I am sorry for that.”
CNN fired Chris Cuomo in December 2021.
“Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this week pending further evaluation of new information that came to light about his involvement with his brother’s defense,” an official CNN statement read. “We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated him, effective immediately.”
“While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light,” the network statement added. “Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate.”
Jeff Zucker just announced his resignation to a stunned CNN. pic.twitter.com/sWXYNBO20d
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 2, 2022