CNN used its relationship with now-disgraced former New York governor Andrew Cuomo to benefit its parent company in September 2020, according to text messages revealed through the network's litigation with ex-anchor Chris Cuomo.
Allison Gollust, who then served as CNN's chief marketing officer, had previously worked in Cuomo's office, but she kept in contact with the governor after her departure. She implored the governor to speak with Ann Sarnoff, the studio chief of parent company WarnerMedia, according to the texts, revealed as part of CNN's ongoing court proceedings with former host and brother of the ex-governor Chris Cuomo over his termination.
"[Sarnoff] is bummed you don't open theaters in NY, but perhaps you can hear her out," Gollust wrote to the governor, apparently asking him to speak with Sarnoff, who lobbied him to open New York's shuttered movie theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic, Semafor reported. Opening the movie theaters would have benefited WarnerMedia, which owned several film studios.
CNN's relationship with the former governor has been a topic of controversy for years.
Many accused the network of being too soft on Cuomo over his policy of sending COVID-positive patients into nursing homes. In 2021, the network revealed that Chris Cuomo had advised his brother on the handling of sexual harassment allegations that eventually led to the governor's resignation.