The former news anchor, who was sacked by the network’s then-president Jeff Zucker in December 2021 over his alleged involvement in his brother Andrew Cuomo’s sexual misconduct incident, has filed an arbitration suit seeking $125 million in lost salary and reputational harm.
Cuomo has been hurt in innumerable ways as a result of [Turner Broadcasting System’s] unjustifiable decision to summarily remove him, according to state records filed March 15 by Cuomo’s attorneys at Freedman + Taitelman LLP and Clayman Rosenberg Kirshner & Linder LLP.
“Cuomo’s journalistic integrity has been unjustly damaged, making it difficult, if not impossible, for him to obtain similar work in the future and causing him to lose more than $125 million in damages.”
The $125 million number covers not just his remaining pay under his contract with the network, but also “future wages lost as a result of CNN’s efforts to ruin his reputation,” according to the docs.
The lawsuit also accuses Zucker and CNN of not only failing to train all of the network’s staff not to criticize Cuomo, but also of publicly insulting the fallen news star, which is reportedly prohibited by the contract.
On March 16, lawyer Bryan Freedman told Deadline, “It should be evident that Chris Cuomo did not lie to CNN about supporting his brother.”
“In reality, as the scant evidence disclosed from WarnerMedia’s inquiry shows, CNN’s top executives were not only aware of Chris’s involvement in assisting his brother, but also actively aided the Governor, both through Chris and personally.”
“The civil action filed today makes obvious that CNN unlawfully terminated Chris and then went on to violate the stated terms of his employment agreement by enabling its employees to defame him,” Freedman continued. Those responsible owe Chris a complete apology.”
When reached by NBC News, CNN spokesperson James Anderson had no comment.
The network fired the Cuomo Prime Time presenter, 51, on December 4 after “new material” was found during an internal inquiry into how he assisted his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, deal with sexual misconduct charges.
“Earlier this week, Chris Cuomo was suspended pending further examination of new material that came to light about his role with his brother’s defense,” CNN said in a statement to E! News at the time. “We hired a reputable law company to perform the investigation, and we’ve fired him immediately.”
“Additional material has come to light while that evaluation is being conducted,” the statement stated. Regardless of the termination, we will conduct an investigation.”
“This is not how I want my time at CNN to end,” the journalist said later that day in a statement to E! News. “But I have already told you why and how I supported my brother,” he said.
Cuomo had earlier “confessed” to CNN that he had indeed “given counsel” to his brother’s team, according to CNN.
“He broke our rules, and we openly acknowledged it,” CNN said. “But we also recognized his particular situation and recognized his need to prioritize his family over his profession.”
Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned in August 2021.