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Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Jeffrey Toobin...Is CNN a Bastion of Sexual Misconduct?

AP Photo/Ron Harris

CNN is the place where facts matter, right? Well, it’s also becoming a bastion for (alleged) sexual harassers and outright creepiness. And it’s not just conservatives who are noticing. Erik Wemple of The Washington Post penned a column about the network’s latest ‘Me Too’ issue with Chris Cuomo, who reportedly grabbed a former top executive’s buttocks 16 years ago. At the time, Cuomo was with ABC News. Cuomo apologized for the incident, but CNN has gone dark on this episode. It’s not the first time Chris Cuomo has breached the boundaries of journalistic ethics. He acted inappropriately when he advised his brother, ex-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo when he was slapped with numerous allegations of sexual misconduct. CNN did issue a statement on that incident, but they’ve gone to ground on this one (via WaPo):


…a hush has settled in at the network over journalist Shelley Ross’s claim that CNN host Chris Cuomo grabbed her buttock in 2005. In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Ross, who served as Cuomo’s boss at ABC’s “Primetime Live,” recounted how she ran into Cuomo at a going-away party for a colleague at a Manhattan bar. "I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss,” Cuomo reportedly told Ross after the grab. “No you can’t,” Ross responded, pushing Cuomo away.

Cuomo later sent Ross an email professing to be “ashamed” and extending apologies to Ross and her husband. He issued this statement on Thursday night regarding the episode: "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.”


CNN’s reactions to scandals surrounding Chris Cuomo over the past year reveal the network’s priorities. When it emerged, for example, that Cuomo and his family had received preferential treatment from New York state for covid tests, CNN issued this statement: “We generally do not get involved in the medical decisions of our employees. However, it is not surprising that in the earliest days of a once-in-a-century global pandemic, when Chris was showing symptoms and was concerned about possible spread, he turned to anyone he could for advice and assistance, as any human being would.”

And when it emerged that Cuomo had provided advice to his brother over the governor’s sexual harassment scandal — even participating in staff discussions on the matter, and counseling defiance — CNN issued a statement saying, in part, "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.”


If CNN can speak up — however tepidly — about journalism ethics, can’t it offer even a token statement about sexual harassment? Surely the network would be exploding with commentary if the same claim surfaced against a host on a certain competing cable-news network.


Chris Cuomo is not the only person dealing with issues here. Jeffrey Toobin, their chief legal analyst, was fired from The New Yorker when he was caught masturbating in front of staffers during a Zoom call in October of 2020. CNN didn’t fire him. He’s back. He gave a weak sauce explanation and apology. Now, Don Lemon’s sexual assault lawsuit is going to trial. That legal saga has been in the works for months (via Fox News):

The attorney for the man who accused fellow CNN host Don Lemon of a sexually charged assault expects the case to finally end up in court early next year after a prolonged legal process.

It’s been over two years since Dustin Hice filed an explosive lawsuit against Lemon – who is openly gay – accusing the "CNN Tonight" host of assault and battery at a bar on New York's Long Island during the summer of 2018. 

"[Lemon] put his hand down the front of his own shorts, and vigorously rubbed his genitalia, removed his hand and shoved his index and middle fingers into Plaintiff's mustache and under Plaintiff's nose," according to the lawsuit, filed Aug. 11, 2019 in Suffolk County Court.

"Lemon intensely pushed his fingers against Plaintiff’s face under Plaintiff’s nose, forcing Plaintiff’s head thrust backward as Defendant repeatedly asked Plaintiff ‘Do you like p---y or d--k?’ While saying this, Mr. Lemon continued to shove his fingers into Plaintiff’s face with aggression and hostility," the suit alleged. 

In an answer to the complaint, Lemon denied all wrongdoing and called the suit "frivolous." 

A lengthy discovery process and the coronavirus pandemic have kept the case out of court, but Hice’s legal team told Fox News Digital the suit was ongoing and may wind up in court around January 2022.


CNN is just a bastion of creepers and (alleged) sexual harassers and assaulters. That’s a fact. 

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