CNN's Cuomo Accused of Sexual Harassment

'I can do this now that you're no longer my boss,' Chris Cuomo reportedly told former producer before grabbing her buttocks

Chris Cuomo / screenshot
September 24, 2021

A former coworker of CNN anchor Chris Cuomo accused him of sexually harassing her in 2005.

In a New York Times op-ed on Friday, Shelley Ross, who was Cuomo's executive producer at ABC News, said he inappropriately touched her at a going-away party for an ABC colleague.

Cuomo "walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock," Ross wrote. "'I can do this now that you're no longer my boss,' he said to me with a kind of cocky arrogance. 'No you can’t,' I said, pushing him off me at the chest while stepping back, revealing my husband, who had seen the entire episode at close range. We quickly left."

Ross provided a copy of an email Cuomo sent her an hour after the incident. The subject line read, "Now that I think of it … I am ashamed."

"Though my hearty greeting was a function of being glad to see you … as a husband I can empathize with not liking to see my wife patted as such," Cuomo wrote in the email. "So pass along my apology to your very good and noble husband. … Next time, I will remember the lesson, no matter how happy I am to see you."

Ross said she was spurred to reveal the harassment incident in the wake of the sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo's brother, former New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D.), who resigned in August following a state attorney general's report that found he harassed 11 women. After his brother's resignation, Chris Cuomo expressed concern about sexual harassment and wore a T-shirt with the word "Truth" printed on it—both of which, Ross said, were "provocations in this era of personal accountability."

The New York attorney general's report also revealed that Cuomo advised his brother on strategy to counter the sexual harassment accusations, helping to draft a statement that the governor's team released. CNN called Cuomo's actions "inappropriate" but declined to discipline him. Even though Cuomo interviewed his brother on his show on numerous occasions, the network said the interviews were not a breach of journalistic ethics because he did not report on the allegations against his brother.