Time’s Up leader steps down after advising Gov. Cuomo, CNN's Chris Cuomo still employed

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Time’s Up leader Roberta Kaplan resigned Monday amid backlash for advising Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he faced allegations of sexual harassment, but the governor’s little brother has gone unpunished by CNN for a similar role in the growing scandal. 

The “Cuomo Prime Time” host and Kaplan were both part of a team of outside, loyal confidants to Gov. Cuomo who contributed to a culture allowing the governor’s “sexually harassing conduct” to “flourish,” a scathing state investigation revealed last week. 

CNN’s Chris Cuomo was one of several unpaid, trusted outside figures consulted by Gov. Cuomo and his Executive Chamber staff to grapple with the numerous sexual harassment allegations against him this year. (Bishop/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

The CNN host was one of several unpaid, trusted outside figures consulted by Gov. Cuomo and his Executive Chamber staff to grapple with the numerous sexual harassment allegations against him this year. He drafted a response for his brother to the allegations against him on Feb. 28, according to the report. 

CNN’s Cuomo has remained silent on his big brother, despite the report from New York Attorney General Letitia James, D., that found the governor sexually harassed multiple women. The report also concluded “the reliance on loyal confidants regardless of their official role in State government” was one of several key factors in creating an environment “where the Governor’s sexually harassing conduct was allowed to flourish and persist.”

Kaplan, who was the Chair of the Board of Directors of Time’s Up and cofounder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, joined the CNN host as part of the governor’s trusted outside figures. She stepped down from her position but Chris Cuomo remains gainfully employed by CNN. 

The attorney general’s report showed that Chris Cuomo offered a suggested statement to his brother to respond to the allegations on Feb. 28, one day before he told CNN viewers that he “obviously” could not cover the harassment claims against his brother due to his conflict of interest. Those remarks drew sharp criticism at the time, given he had been allowed by the network to do jokey, friendly interviews with his brother during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chris Cuomo was not formally reprimanded by CNN for his conduct, which he called a “mistake” while defending himself for helping out a family member. 

Kaplan had a similar role, as the state attorney general found she reviewed a draft of an op-ed that was designed to attack the credibility of one of the governor’s accusers. The op-ed reviewed by Kaplan never ran, but the governor’s office put out a statement that was extremely similar to what the CNN host suggested. 

Media insiders, anonymous CNN employees and a variety of critics have slammed CNN for its handling of the situation. 

“It gives critics of the media something else to use at a time when really the media needs to work really hard to try to rebuild its credibility with the American public,” a rival network host told Fox News last week. “What’s been happening of late on the Cuomo story has not helped.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report  

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