Brian Stelter shared some stark news Sunday about the “legal mess” behind-the-scenes at CNN since the Chris Cuomo scandal and the exit of network president Jeff Zucker: “Everyone is lawyered up,” Stelter revealed on “Reliable Sources.“
Stelter spent a portion of this Sunday’s show discussing what led up to Cuomo’s exit and the aftermath that eventually resulted in the departure of Zucker and chief marketing officer Allison Gollust. The CNN host noted reports that Cuomo is considering suing CNN parent company WarnerMedia for the remaining salary on his contract, while Gollust accused WarnerMedia of retaliation as she resigned this past Tuesday.
Stelter also cited sources that told him that Zucker cannot comment further on his departure, suggesting that it could be because of a legal agreement as he and Gollust weigh potential litigation.
Gollust’s departure came after a third-party investigation by CNN found that she was not only misleading about her personal relationship with Zucker but that she also allowed former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for whom she was once a top aide, to determine the topics discussed in interviews on the network in March 2020 during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a memo to CNN employees, Jason Kilar, CEO of CNN parent company WarnerMedia, said that Gollust, Zucker and Cuomo had violated the network’s standards and practices along with other company policies. Gollust has disputed that through a spokesperson, saying that pre-interview discussions about what will be talked about on-air is standard practice.
On his program Sunday, Stelter acknowledged that what Gollust said is true, but that such pre-interview discussions “does not mean that the hosts are going to ask about [those topics] or limit the interview to those topics.”
“I have spoken with multiple anchors who interviewed the governor here on CNN, and none of them saw signs of interference. This material about Gollust surprised them,” Stelter added.
Stelter also said that there is a great deal of frustration internally at CNN over the lack of transparency over the investigation into Gollust and Zucker and a feeling that WarnerMedia is not providing all the details of what network policies they are accused of violating.