Chris Cuomo says his former CNN colleagues Jake Tapper and Don Lemon should have made more of an effort to contact him after the “Cuomo Prime Time” host was fired by the cable network last year.
Cuomo, who broke his silence earlier this week about his ouster from the struggling network, announced that he has signed on to anchor a show with smaller rival NewsNation.
In an interview with NewsNation’s Dan Abrams on Tuesday, Cuomo was asked about Tapper and Lemon “coming out aggressively” against him.
“They’re good people. They’re good people,” the 51-year-old Cuomo told Abrams.
“I cannot blame people for acting on what they’re told,” he said of Lemon and Tapper.
“Should they have called me? Of course. But I understand the circumstances, also.”
Cuomo continued: “I understand why they may not have felt that was an option. But these are good people.”
“They take their jobs seriously. I’m not gonna judge them for what they say about me based on what they knew and didn’t know.”
“I wish them well.”
Cuomo was fired by CNN last year after it was learned that he played an active role in advising his brother, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on how to counter sex misconduct claims made against him by former aides.
Weeks later, Cuomo’s boss at CNN, Jeff Zucker, stepped down after it was learned he was carrying on a consensual relationship with his top marketing officer, Allison Gollust.
Cuomo then filed a $125 million claim against CNN after the network refused to pay out the remaining $18 million on his contract. The case is in arbitration.
Lemon reportedly came out against any sort of cash settlement between CNN and Cuomo.
“Did you think about what message it sends to the journalists in this company and to the larger public, that someone can be found to break with those journalistic standards and then get paid handsomely for it?” Lemon is reported to have said. His comments were obtained by Insider.
The lawsuit against CNN alleges that big names at the network, including Lemon, engaged in a “smear campaign” against Cuomo.
Cuomo said he was the victim of a double standard since CNN failed to discipline Lemon for providing guidance to Jussie Smollett, the actor who was convicted of concocting a story that he was beaten by Trump supporters in a racially motivated assault.
The lawsuit against CNN mentions the fact that Smollett testified that he was warned by Lemon that Chicago police didn’t believe his allegations of a hate crime.
“Intervening in the ongoing investigation by texting Smollett was an inexcusable breach of ethics,” the filing argued.
“Yet CNN did nothing. Lemon was not disciplined in any way.”
In February, Tapper accused the network’s corporate parent of throwing Zucker under the bus after he refused to capitulate to Cuomo’s demands.
Tapper said the corporate bosses at WarnerMedia, the AT&T subsidiary which owned CNN before the parent company merged with Discovery, forced Zucker out after Cuomo “threatened to blow up” the network.
Even before Chris Cuomo’s ouster, Tapper publicly called out his then-colleague for inviting his brother onto his show to conduct softball interviews during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the early days of lockdown, Andrew Cuomo was lauded by many for his handling of the state government’s response to the pandemic.
Chris Cuomo’s fawning interviews with his brother put CNN and its journalists in “a bad spot,” Tapper told the New York Times last year.
“I cannot imagine a world in which anybody in journalism thinks that that was appropriate,” Tapper said.
“Chris, in his apology that he delivered on air, said that he put us in a bad spot. I would also agree with that.”