CNN's Brian Stelter told viewers Sunday that there were mixed feelings throughout the week surrounding Chris Cuomo's future at the network after he was suspended and subsequently fired over new revelations about the role he played in the defense of his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
Stelter said during his show, "Reliable Sources," that some network employees believed that Chris Cuomo should have been back at his anchor desk while others felt that he should have been terminated days before CNN officially made the move.
"The biggest media story this weekend is the firing of Chris Cuomo from this network, CNN," Stelter said. "I have been working the phones ever since this was announced yesterday evening. Frankly, I have been on the phone until the last five minutes here getting information about what happened, and where CNN goes from here."
"So I would like to start, now that you know the news about Cuomo’s firing, with a timeline of how it came to this point," he continued. "Why was Chris Cuomo fired now, after CNN management supported him all year long? That’s the key question I have been pursuing as a media reporter for the past, you know, 18 hours or so."
Stelter then outlined the events that unfolded over the last week, beginning with New York state Attorney General Letitia James releasing documents Monday showing that Chris Cuomo was more involved in crafting his brother's defense against sexual harassment allegations than initially realized.
The "Cuomo Primetime" host had used his media contacts to find out about new accusers who have yet to come forward publicly with allegations against the governor.
CNN announced Tuesday that Cuomo had been suspended from the network indefinitely, pending an investigation conducted by attorneys who reviewed the documents. And on Saturday, the network announced Cuomo had been terminated, effective immediately, after the law firm concluded its review. The firing also came just days after the anchor had been accused of sexual misconduct by a woman he worked with while employed by another network.
"On one side important complaints about Cuomo crossing clear journalistic lines and damaging CNN’s brand. On the other side, concerns about Cuomo the person, and respect for the fact he put his family first. Some of you felt all of the above," Stelter told viewers Sunday. "My phone was lighting up on Tuesday with calls from CNN staffers, some of whom said Cuomo should have been fired right away and also with emails from CNN viewers that CNN was being unfair to the anchorman."
He went on to say that CNN President Jeff Zucker met with the "Cuomo Primetime" staff, and that "the sentiments were there were clearly in Cuomo’s favor."
"Those staffers from the 9:00 p.m. show talked about the anchorman’s talent and the pride they felt in the show," Stelter said. "So there was a real wide array of feelings in this house. You’ve got CNN staffers saying get rid of him, he shouldn’t work here, he’s hurt us. And then you have some of his own producers saying, you know, let’s bring him back. He should be back."