Former News Producer Says Chris Cuomo Once Touched Her Inappropriately

Shelley Ross, a former executive producer at ABC and CBS News, said CNN anchor Chris Cuomo sexually harassed her, describing a public incident at a going away party for a colleague in 2005.

In an essay published in the New York Times this morning, Ross says she doesn’t want Cuomo to lose his job but hopes instead he’ll use his power to “make change.”

Ross said the moment “crystallized for her” in the events leading up to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation after multiple allegations of harassment and a damning report by the New York Attorney General. It emerged that Chris Cuomo had advised his brother on his response. The host had recused himself from covering his brother on air but stated that, “I have always cared very deeply about these issues and profoundly so. I just wanted to tell you that.”

Ross, who had been the former executive producer at Chris Cuomo’s show Primetime Live, described him entering an Upper West Side bar where “he 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.” She said he joked that he could do it since she wasn’t his boss anymore.

She said her husband had seen the episode and they both left. Soon after, Cuomo emailed her apologizing.

The Times published a copy of the email.  It said that Cuomo told the NYT in response that: “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.”

A spokesperson for CNN did not immediately return a request for comment. When reports surfaced in May that Cuomo had advised his brother, the network acknowledged that he had been a “sounding board” for his brother but that it was “inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges.”

Cuomo came under further criticism in August, as Andrew Cuomo resigned following the release of a report from New York Attorney General Letitia James that included allegations of sexual harassment from 11 women. The report showed that Chris Cuomo, in February, provided his brother with a suggested statement to the claims. The New York Times reported that CNN offered Chris Cuomo to take temporary leave to formally advise his brother and return later, but he has remained on the air.

CNN moved Cuomo from its morning time slot to a much more high profile presence in primetime in 2018, with the show Cuomo Primetime. Although it trails its cable news rivals — Hannity on Fox News and The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC — it is a top ratings getter for CNN.


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