A longtime television journalist and producer this week said that Chris Cuomo inappropriately touched her at a 2005 party.
Shelley Ross, who was Cuomo’s executive producer at ABC’s “Primetime Live,” detailed her claims in an opinion essay published Friday in The New York Times. In the article, she accuses Cuomo of squeezing “the cheek of my buttock” while at “a going-away party for an ABC colleague” and in full view of her husband.
“Whether he understood it at the time or not, his form of sexual harassment was a hostile act meant to diminish and belittle his female former boss in front of the staff,” Ross wrote.
The article includes a screenshot of a 2005 email that Cuomo sent to Ross after the party in which he apologized for his behavior. He offered amends once again in a statement provided to The New York Times that also appears in the piece. “As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature,” he said. “It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it.”
When contacted by HuffPost, a representative for Cuomo reiterated the statement but did not comment further.
Ross began her tenure at ABC in 1999 as an executive producer of “Good Morning America,” and left the network in 2006. She worked on CBS’ “The Early Show” as an executive producer but, according to The New York Times, left in 2008 amid conflicts with fellow staff members.
Cuomo has spent much of 2021 in a fog of bad press for blurring ethical lines concerning his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). The CNN host repeatedly denied reports that he advised his brother, who was facing a series of misconduct accusations. The elder Cuomo resigned on Aug. 10 following a report by the New York attorney general that concluded that he had sexually harassed multiple women.
Though “Cuomo Prime Time” is still CNN’s top-rated show, its audience has reportedly significantly declined in recent weeks.
In her essay, Ross said she did not want Chris Cuomo to lose his job, but suggested he should “make this a watershed moment instead of another stain” on his career.
“I hope he stays at CNN forever if he chooses,” she wrote. “I would, however, like to see him journalistically repent: agree on air to study the impact of sexism, harassment and gender bias in the workplace, including his own, and then report on it.”