Another CNN Executive Is Fired After Being Caught…

Within two weeks of CNN president Jeff Zucker being forced out of his position, his former lieutenant Allison Gollust resigned as well.

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WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar informed staff Tuesday evening that Gollust resigned after an investigation of “issues associated with” Cuomo and his brother Andrew, the former governor of New York.

“Based on interviews of more than 40 individuals and a review of over 100,000 texts and emails, the investigation found violations of Company policies, including CNN’s News Standards and Practices, by Jeff Zucker, Allison Gollust, and Chris Cuomo,” the memo by Kilar read.

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“We have the highest standards of journalistic integrity at CNN, and those rules must apply to everyone equally,” Kilar declared. “Given the information provided to me in the investigation, I strongly believe we have taken the right actions and the right decisions have been made.”

Tuesday night, Gottlust released a statement regarding her departure.

“WarnerMedia’s statement tonight is an attempt to retaliate against me and change the media narrative in the wake of their disastrous handling of the last two weeks,” she argued. “It is deeply disappointing that after spending the past nine years defending and upholding CNN’s highest standards of journalistic integrity, I would be treated this way as I leave. But I do so with my head held high, knowing that I gave my heart and soul to working with the finest journalists in the world.”

There was no immediate comment from Zucker’s representative. Cuomo refused to comment.

The company is preparing for a possible lawsuit from Cuomo, who was fired from his 9 p.m. broadcast amid multiple controversies.

First reported by CNN Business on December 5, CNN retained the law firm of Cravath to assess Chris Cuomo’s conduct regarding his brother’s sexual harassment scandal.

CNN was found to have grounds to terminate Cuomo in the initial review by the law firm, and Zucker did that on December 4, setting the stage for an extraordinary sequence of events.

A high-profile Hollywood litigator was hired by Cuomo, who told friends he would ask for his remaining millions of dollars. Under Zucker, the network refused to pay.

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As previously reported by CNN, numerous staff members throughout the organization were interviewed as part of the Cravath review.

“What had started with a focus on Mr. Cuomo’s behavior was morphing into a broader look at Mr. Zucker’s handling of the anchor and his interactions with the Cuomos,” the New York Times reported on Tuesday. “Among other things, the lawyers asked CNN employees about how Mr. Zucker had handled Mr. Cuomo’s suspension and firing, what he knew about Chris Cuomo’s interactions with his brother — and whether any employees were aware of communications between Mr. Zucker and Andrew Cuomo.”

Zucker and Gollust were also questioned by the Cravath lawyers.

Zucker acknowledged the relationship, but for not disclosing it at the time of its beginning, he violated company policies.

He admitted it when he left the company on Feb. 2: “I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong.”

In a statement, Gollust said that the relationship “changed during COVID” and “I regret that we didn’t disclose it at the right time.”

Gollust has said that she will continue to work at CNN as the company’s head of marketing and communications. Last week, she was seen at the company’s New York office.

Nevertheless, Kilar reports that she too has resigned, and the Cravath inquiry has ended.

The next question is about Cuomo. Is he going to sue? Are there plans to settle? What is the other option?

Steve Goldberg, Cuomo’s spokesman, told reporters Tuesday that “it is clear this was never about an undisclosed relationship. As Mr. Cuomo has stated previously, Mr. Zucker and Ms. Gollust were not only entirely aware but fully supportive of what he was doing to help his brother. The still open question is when WarnerMedia is going to release the results of its investigation and explain its supposed basis for terminating Mr. Cuomo.”

Zucker’s spokesman Risa Heller has contested the “entirely aware” claim: “Jeff was never aware of the full extent of what Chris Cuomo was doing for his brother, which is why Chris was fired.”

After Zucker resigned, Chris Cuomo’s attorneys sent a letter to CNN demanding that all communication between Zucker, Allison Gollust, and Chris’s brother Andrew – the former governor of New York – be safeguarded, according to reports.

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In addition, Chris’s lawyers sought to preserve the communications as proof of a conflict of interest on Zucker’s part, and on Chris’s part by accusing him of conflicted motives in helping his brother.

A warm chemistry among the group was enhanced by Gollust’s past work as Cuomo’s PR director.

Zucker was highly valued by CNN, whose contract was due to expire at the end of 2021, but was extended to ensure that he could continue to work during the merger with Discovery. In the event his contract contained a severance clause, his severance payout could be at risk now due to his undisclosed relationship with another employee.

A major factor in Zucker’s downfall was his refusal to pay out the remaining terms of Chris Cuomo’s contract, valued at approximately $18 million. Apparently, Zucker argues that he is not entitled to claim the payout since his actions – providing advice to his brother – caused CNN to lose its reputation.