Stelter addresses past communications between Gollus, Governor Cuomo and potential lawsuits: ‘A legal mess for CNN’

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“Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter said Sunday that the situation involving the resignations of former CNN president Jeff Zucker and former CNN chief marketing officer Allison Gollus was “a legal mess for CNN”.

“A source told me Zucker couldn’t comment further on why he left, why he did it and what happened,” Stelter said. “Everyone is trained by a lawyer, Chris Cuomo could sue, Cuomo’s lawyer apparently wants to pull tens of millions of dollars from this network, so now it’s a legal mess for CNN.”

Panelist Joe Peyronnin, a former CBS News vice president, agreed with Stelter and argued that it could have been avoided.

Jeff Zucker was adored by many CNN underlings who often referred to him simply as “JZ”. (J. Countess/Getty Images)

Stelter noted earlier in the segment that the Wall Street Journal and New York Times reports both offered somewhat different accounts of what happened, adding later that they did not necessarily contradict each other.

Gollus resigned from CNN after their parent company, WarnerMedia, discovered that a previous statement she made about her relationship with Zucker was misleading, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Gollus originally said her relationship with Zucker “changed during COVID.” Some CNN and WarnerMedia employees reportedly believed their relationship was romantic before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Wall Street Journal reported that people familiar with the matter then determined that his initial statement was misleading.

WHO IS ALLISON GOLLUST? CNN BOSS ZUCKER Resigns Citing Undisclosed Relationship With Longtime Colleague

WarnerMedia’s chief executive released a statement earlier in the week following Gollus’ resignation.

John Griffin has worked closely with former CNN star Chris Cuomo.

John Griffin has worked closely with former CNN star Chris Cuomo.

“Based on interviews with more than 40 people and a review of more than 100,000 text messages and emails, the investigation revealed violations of company policies, including compliance standards and practices. information from CNN, by Jeff Zucker, Allison Gollust and Chris Cuomo,” the statement read.

The New York Times reported that the breach of standards and practices related to conversations Gollus had with former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, DN.Y. She had also worked for Cuomo before taking her job at CNN and was the governor’s personal booker, according to Gollus spokeswoman Risa Heller.

The Times alleges that Andrew Cuomo told Gollus about topics he wanted to be asked about during his March 2020 live interview. She allegedly brought the topics to CNN producers and then returned to the Governor.

“Done,” she said, according to the Times. Zucker was reportedly aware of communications between Gollus and Andrew Cuomo.


“It’s really unusual that the public relations person was involved in booking Cuomo and passing information back and forth,” Stelter said.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during the June 12, 2020 daily press conference in New York City.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during the June 12, 2020 daily press conference in New York City.
(Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

The “Reliable Sources” host said a statement by Gollus’ spokesperson that he was “well known to the entire network” was not true. Stelter said CNN anchors he spoke with were surprised by what was reported by The New York Times.

Mara Schiavocampo, a former ABC and NBC News correspondent, said Gollus’ communications with the governor don’t come close to being “unethical or even unusual.” She said it was common for an interviewee to ask to speak on certain topics. Schiavocampo said it was also common to grant them this, but that making the interview “conditional on those things” or “agreeing not to ask about certain things” would be unethical.

“Maybe we don’t know the whole story yet,” she said.

“In terms of Allison and in terms of sharing questions and stuff, we don’t know everything that was shared. We don’t know what was said, what Cuomo the governor told her. To avoid that , why have her in the process, knowing she was working with him,” Peyronnin said.

He said the major news networks have rules regarding interviews. “They don’t let you share questions, they don’t let you answer questions of any topic,” he said, noting that you can mention the domain.

“You can’t ask questions. It’s a rule because you don’t want anything to interfere with the quality of the interview,” he said.


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