In an essay published on Friday in the New York Times, a former ABC News executive accused CNN anchor Chris Cuomo of sexual harassment, describing how he grabbed her buttocks during a colleague’s farewell party in 2005.
Cuomo’s boss at ABC was Shelley Ross, who had recently departed the job when Cuomo embraced her at the celebration in New York City.
Ross describes Cuomo as telling her, “Now that you’re no longer my boss,” after he grabbed her in a bear hug and moved one hand down to “firmly clutch and squeeze the cheek of my buttock.” Cuomo discovered her husband standing behind her, watching, after she pushed him away, according to Ross.
Cuomo was compelled to apologize to CNN viewers earlier this year for giving advise to the staff of his brother, Andrew Cuomo, who was facing calls to resign as governor of New York at the time after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment. Chris Cuomo stated that advising on the incident while working as a CNN journalist was wrong.
Cuomo admitted the 2005 episode with Ross in a statement, stating it was not sexual in nature.
Cuomo’s statement read, “It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC.” “At the time, I apologized to her, and I meant it.”
Ross’s post included a copy of Cuomo’s apology email, which he sent within hours of the 2005 party and in which he said, “I am ashamed…
despite the fact that my warm greeting was a consequence of my delight in seeing you…”
He apologized to her husband in the email, noting that a Hollywood actor had recently been arrested for similar behavior, and that as a married man, he could identify with “not liking to have my wife patted as such…”
Ross stated in her post that she does not want Cuomo fired, but rather that he “journalistically repent” by dedicating airtime to reporting on workplace sexual harassment.
A CNN spokesman, Natalie Pahz, said the network had no further comment than Cuomo’s.