“May you live in interesting times.”
What a difference two years can make.
In 2020, the Cuomo brothers were riding especially high, in spite of a deadly pandemic, or possibly because of it. Everyone was terrified of Covid, shut inside their houses and therefore consuming a lot of news media.
Democrats hated Donald Trump with the fire of a thousand suns and didn’t trust or believe a word he said about Covid or anything else for that matter. They were, therefore, happy to look to a well-regarded Democratic leader like then-Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Emmys, book deals, personal and professional plaudits rained in from all sides. More than a few Democrats christened themselves “Cuomosexuals”. Heaping praise on Andrew Cuomo became the flavor of the year and everyone from Hollywood to Wall Street to Washington was anxious to jump on the Cuomo bandwagon.
No one knew where Covid19 might take us in 2020, but it was abundantly clear to those of the progressive persuasion that Andrew Cuomo was destined for greatness well beyond the New York Governor’s mansion.
One Cuomo, at least, seemed destined for the White House.
Meanwhile, Andrew Cuomo’s younger brother Chris Cuomo was enjoying a tide of high ratings as millions of Americans tuned in to his CNN program to hear all the bad news about Covid.
At the height of this popularity, the Cuomo Bros decided to work up a comedy routine and take it on the road. Chris Cuomo was allowed by CNN to eliminate every last vestige of impartiality and seriousness by interviewing his own brother as a frequent guest.
In what turned out to be a major mistake, Chris Cuomo and his politician brother used a television news network to give the people what they obviously wanted at the height of a global crisis: Light-hearted banter between two wealthy successful brothers about who is mom’s favorite.
Fast forward to 2022, and both brothers are out of a job.
Worse, as far as humiliating falls go, the fall of Governor Andrew Cuomo was one for the record books. The fall of his brother Chris- axed from CNN not long ago for colluding with his brother to help him get ahead of over a dozen charges of sexual harassment and misconduct- was nearly as deafening.
It looked bad alright. CNN was embarrassed, perhaps rightly, of the many Cuomo Brother Comedy Specials the network had aired in lieu of actual news during a deadly pandemic. All the praise heaped upon Gov. Cuomo by the network was equally embarrassing, an albatross around the neck of a company under new management and trying to turn its sinking ship around.
Nor has Chris Cuomo gone quietly into that good night of media obscurity. Like his brother Andrew, plotting a political comeback by running against his own former lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul, after she was forced to replace him, Chris Cuomo isn’t going down without a fight either- a very public fight.
Chris Cuomo is suing his former network for wrongful termination to the tune of $125 million dollars. Worse, for CNN at least, Cuomo laid network vulnerabilities bare for all and sundry in his legal filling.
In his suit, the younger Cuomo brother made reference to several major scandals which have rocked CNN over the past few years. Don Lemon- also a popular anchor at CNN and with whom Cuomo appeared to have a friendly professional relationship- was mentioned in the brief.
Lemon came under fire in the early days of the Jussie Smollett case for interfering with an ongoing police investigation. Smollett, who was recently convicted of staging a fake hate crime against himself, testified during his trial that it was Lemon who tipped him off that the Chicago Police Department didn’t believe his yarn and were investigating the case as a hoax.
In his legal filing, Chris Cuomo points out that Lemon was never even disciplined by the network. Cuomo also took aim at Jeffery Toobin, who remains at CNN in spite of being caught masturbating on a conference call with colleagues.
One of the interesting things about the filing isn’t what it says, but what it doesn’t say. Namely, everything Chris Cuomo accused CNN of doing was already well known in the public sphere.
It is worth wondering what Cuomo may be holding back about other malfeasance at the network which hasn’t yet become known.
It’s possible CNN doesn’t have $125 million, though ratings might have improved since the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin. Whatever the costs, CNN might want to consider paying Chris Cuomo to go away.
It might already be too late.
For a cautionary tale, CNN should look to the now-defunct organization formerly known as “Time’s Up”. Born in the wake of the #MeToo movement and created to help women get the legal resources they need to combat sexual harassment in the workplace, Time’s Up was ignominiously destroyed by none other than Andrew Cuomo himself.
When it was revealed that top female executives at Time’s Up had been doing rather the opposite of what the organization was created to do, it was something of a shocker. Instead of defending women in the workplace from sexual harassment, Time’s Up was caught dead to rights helping the elder Cuomo brother get around his own long and now well-documented history of sexual misconduct in the workplace.
When Time’s Up died, it might have taken #MeToo with it. The curse of Cuomo is a powerful one. The Cuomo brothers may be disgraced, out of a job and publicly shamed, but they are clearly not going alone.
The only question is what- or who- will the Cuomo brothers pull down next?
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)