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New details are emerging about the conduct of former CNN executive Allison Gollust, who resigned from the network this week.
Reports previously indicated that she and then-CNN president Jeff Zucker had given “talking points” to then-Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the early months of the pandemic.
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However, a new report from The New York Times alleges Gollust, who previously worked for Cuomo as a communications aide, forwarded topics the governor wanted to discuss for a CNN interview in March 2020, a revelation from the network’s internal investigation.
“CNN’s longtime chief of communications and marketing and a former top aide of the governor, passed along the topics to CNN producers and then reported back to the governor. ‘Done,’ she wrote,” the Times reported Friday.
According to the Times, investigators found messages that showed Cuomo wanted to discuss three specific subjects during his March 28, 2020 appearance on CNN, which included his phone conversation with then-President Trump and the effects of New York’s lockdown.
“Ms. Gollust then sent messages to CNN staff requesting that the governor be asked about those subjects. The Cravath lawyers reviewed broadcast transcripts that showed that the anchor asked about the subjects that Ms. Gollust had put forward, the people said,” the Times wrote.
Risa Heller, a spokesperson for Gollust, told Fox News, “Because she had previously worked in the Cuomo Administration, Allison acted as the principal booker for Governor Cuomo during the early days of the pandemic so he could share critical public health information on CNN’s air. This was well known by the entire network, and many producers relied on her for it on a regular basis.”
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Heller said the claims are a “complete misrepresentation of the facts,” stressing Cuomo made such a suggestion “on one single occasion” and it “in no way suggested that inclusion of these topics was a condition of the interview, nor did she suggest the interview should be limited to these subjects.”
“WarnerMedia relying on this everyday practice as justification for dismissing Allison demonstrates how ignorant they are of journalistic practices, and further proves that her dismissal is nothing more than retaliation,” the spokesperson said.
The Wall Street Journal also reported employees at CNN and parent company WarnerMedia believed Gollust’s statement addressing her relationship with Zucker was “misleading.”
Following the announcement of Zucker’s resignation, Gollust issued her own statement suggesting their relationship “changed during Covid.”
“Ms. Gollust’s decision to put a timeline on the evolution of the relationship rankled some employees at WarnerMedia and CNN, who believed it had turned romantic before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to some of the people familiar with the matter,” WSJ reported on Friday.
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“Allison has been clear that her relationship with Jeff changed during Covid, and regrets that they didn’t properly disclose it to WarnerMedia at that time. Continuing to publicly debate the private details of her personal life reeks of sexism and only further underscores WarnerMedia’s retaliatory actions against her,” Gollust’s spokesperson told Fox News.
Fox News also reached out to CNN for comment.
Reports previously alleged Gollust’s relationship with Zucker dates back to 1996 when she was a “trainee” and he was the executive producer of NBC’s “Today.”
Gollust and Zucker were also claimed to have fed Cuomo “talking points” to combat Trump on the national stage as the COVID pandemic began taking a toll on the country.
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The CNN lovebirds were also reportedly “instrumental” in the televised Cuomo Brothers interviews in 2020, and Gollust personally appealed to the governor to continue his CNN appearances when his office began resisting.
The growing controversy stem from CNN’s investigation into Chris Cuomo, who was fired in December after he was suspended for his role in aiding his brother, Andrew Cuomo, during the now-ex governor’s sexual harassment scandal.
It was previously reported that Cuomo was terminated after CNN learned about a sexual misconduct allegation made by a former junior colleague of his during their time at ABC News. But a bombshell report from The New York Times revealed the “Cuomo Prime Time” anchor was accused of 2011 sexual assault.
The letter sent to CNN by attorney Debra Katz, who represents Cuomo’s accuser, revealed the anchor contacted the woman “seemingly out of the blue” “at the height of the #MeToo uprising” following the downfalls of media icons like Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer and that, according to the Times, Cuomo “proposed arranging a CNN segment about the company where she worked doing public relations. The woman tried to avoid any contact with Mr. Cuomo, but CNN ultimately broadcast a segment anyway.”
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A representative for Chris Cuomo told Fox News Digital the claims “are false. He was never asked about the allegations prior to being terminated or given an opportunity to respond to the allegations.”
Cuomo was previously accused of sexual harassment by veteran TV producer Shelley Ross, who alleged that Cuomo grabbed her buttock at a 2005 event as ABC colleagues. Ross produced the email he had sent to her apologizing for the incident in the guest essay she penned in the New York Times last year.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.
Source URL: https://www.foxnews.com/media/cnn-allison-gollust-andrew-cuomo-interview