CNN President Jeff Zucker’s sudden resignation is a result of a ”domino effect” of fired host Chris Cuomo ”trying to burn the place down,” according to CNN media analyst Brian Stelter.
”[Chris] Cuomo was fired in December, and he is not going out quietly,” Stelter told CNN’s ”Newsroom” on Wednesday. ”He was fired, and there were reports he wasn’t going to get paid the millions that were going to be on the remainder of his contract.
”So, as a source said to me earlier today, he was trying to burn the place down.”
The connection between Cuomo and Zucker has been revealed to be Allison Gollust, the CNN executive who has confirmed she had a consensual relationship with Zucker. Gollust had previously worked for former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Chris Cuomo’s older brother.
‘Chris Cuomo was going to court, trying to burn the place down and claiming he had incriminating information about Zucker and Gollust,” Stelter continued. ”So, if that’s the case, if this is a domino effect that begins with Andrew Cuomo going down in the governor’s office. And then Chris Cuomo being fired from CNN and then Jeff Zucker losing his job at CNN.
”That is a remarkable domino effect, a chain of events. I think that is part of the story.”
Zucker acknowledged in his resignation he failed to disclose a potential conflict of interest, just weeks after firing Chris Cuomo for his conflict of interest in working to aid his brother’s response to sexual harassment allegations.
”As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo’s tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years,” Zucker wrote in a statement. ”I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began, but I didn’t. I was wrong.”
Chris Cuomo was expected to sue for the $18 million due on his contract, which a source told the New York Post that CNN had ”no intention of paying [Chris] Cuomo a penny.”
His legal team called Zucker a hypocrite for firing Cuomo on the grounds of a conflict of interest when Zucker himself had one with Gollust, sources told Politico.
Gollust worked for Gov. Andrew Cuomo for four months in 2012 and 2013 and was chief marketing officer at CNN under Zucker, who admitted to having a personal relationship with him in her own statement Wednesday.