Publisher scraps plans to release book by Chris Cuomo

Dec 7, 2021, 6:35 PM | Updated: 6:54 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — A planned book by Chris Cuomo has been canceled as fallout continues for the former CNN host who had privately helped his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, respond to sexual harassment allegations.

A spokesperson for Custom House, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that it would not be releasing Cuomo’s “Deep Denial.” The book had been scheduled for fall 2022 and was billed as “a provocative analysis of the harsh truths that the pandemic and Trump years have exposed about America — about our strength and our character — and a roadmap of the work needed to make our ideals match reality.”

The spokesperson declined any additional comment.

CNN chief Jeff Zucker talked about the firing in a town hall meeting with employees on Tuesday, saying that Cuomo would not be getting any severance pay after the network came to the conclusion that its star anchor lied to them, according to people familiar with the call who spoke on condition of anonymity.

There was no immediate comment from a representative for Cuomo.

Cuomo was fired by CNN on Saturday. He had been suspended indefinitely after records released by New York’s attorney general showed the host had participated in his brother’s defense efforts to a greater extent than previously known.

Zucker, WarnerMedia News and Sports chairman, told employees that he made the decision to fire Cuomo without any pressure from corporate owners. CNN, a part of WarnerMedia, is currently owned by AT&T, but a pending merger would put the network under control of a new company merged with Discovery.

Facing the journalists who work for him, Zucker heard some of the same questions voiced by outside critics, who essentially wondered why it took CNN so long to take decisive action against him after it had been known since last May that the CNN anchor had been strategizing with his brother’s aides.

Shortly after that news came out, CNN leadership discussed the possibility of Chris Cuomo taking a leave of absence to help his brother, who eventually resigned as New York governor in August. Chris Cuomo rejected the idea, according to a CNN executive familiar with the discussions.

Cuomo apologized and CNN made clear that his actions were wrong. But further action wasn’t taken at the time since the network was trying to give him a certain leeway to deal with the natural desire to want to help a family member in crisis, Zucker explained.

When New York’s attorney general released new details last week, it became clear to CNN that Chris Cuomo had lied to them about how actively he participated in his brother’s defense, offering to track down a lead about one of Andrew’s accusers and sounding out other journalists on what they knew about the case.

Zucker told the CNN employees that the network couldn’t stand for that. CNN was headed toward that decision even before being contacted by the lawyer for a woman who accused Chris Cuomo of sexual harassment prior to his working at CNN, a charge Cuomo has denied.

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Publisher scraps plans to release book by Chris Cuomo