A guest essay written for the New York Times by veteran television journalist and former executive producer Shelley Ross alleges CNN host Chris Cuomo sexually harassed her when they had previously worked together.
The alleged incident occurred when the two worked together at ABC News in 2005 and Ross now wants the host to “journalistically repent” for his behavior of squeezing her buttock without her permission.
“At the time, I was the executive producer of an ABC entertainment special, but I was Mr. Cuomo’s executive producer at ‘Primetime Live’ just before that,” she wrote. “I was at the party with my husband, who sat behind me on an ottoman sipping his Diet Coke as I spoke with work friends. When Mr. Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, 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.”
Ross added Cuomo said to her, “I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss” and did it “with a kind of cocky arrogance.” Ross said she told him he couldn’t, pushed him off her and revealed her husband was right behind her, and they quickly left the party.
The party was for an ABC colleague’s departure. Later that evening, Cuomo sent her an email, which Ross printed. The email stated, “[T]hough my hearty greeting was a function of being glad to see you … christian slater got arrested for a (kind of) similar act, (though borne of an alleged negative intent, unlike my own)…and as a husband I can empathize with not liking to see my wife patted as such.”
Cuomo added he would like for Ross to pass along an apology to her “very good and noble husband,” and also “I apologize to you as well, for even putting you in su]ch a position.” He added he would remember his lesson the next time he was happy to see her.
Ross writes in her essay, “Mr. Cuomo may say this is a sincere apology. I’ve always seen it as an attempt to provide himself with legal and moral coverage to evade accountability.”
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