CNN's Jake Tapper Says Chris Cuomo Advising Brother Andrew on Harassment Claims Wasn't 'Appropriate'

"I cannot imagine a world in which anybody in journalism thinks that that was appropriate," Jake Tapper said of his CNN colleague Chris Cuomo

Jake Tapper, Chris Cuomo
Jake Tapper, Chris Cuomo. Photo: Marion Curtis/Starpix/Shutterstock; Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Jake Tapper is speaking out about fellow CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who recently apologized on-air for the conflicts between his roles as a news anchor and a brother to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Last week, Chris apologized on Cuomo Prime Time after reports revealed that he advised the New York governor on recent sexual harassment allegations made against him, which the politician has denied.

"It was a mistake because I put my colleagues here, who I believe are the best in the business, in a bad spot. It will not happen again," Chris, 60, said.

"It was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor's staff, which Chris acknowledges," CNN said in a statement to The Washington Post, adding that Chris would not face suspension or disciplinary action.

During a recent interview on The New York Times' Sway podcast, host Kara Swisher asked Tapper if he felt like Chris' apology was sufficient.

"Such a complicated issue," Tapper remarked, going on to reference CNN's statement about Chris' actions. "I cannot imagine a world in which anybody in journalism thinks that that was appropriate. So I agree with that."

Tapper continued, "He said, Chris, in his apology that he delivered on air, said that he put us in a bad spot. And I would also agree with that. I work very hard to be fair and to be ethical and to not cross lines. And I certainly understand the love that Chris has for his brother, and I have a brother and I get it. But that was not a fun day."

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Andrew and Chris Cuomo. Kevin Mazur/Getty

The controversy centers on the widely-followed media policy that journalists should not have conflicts of interest with the subject they're reporting on.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris would often interview his brother on his news show about New York's efforts to combat the spread of the virus, segments which sometimes played up their close bond, prompting criticism that their relationship was blurring the lines of journalistic ethics for the network.

Chris announced on his show in early March that he would step back from coverage of his brother, while CNN would continue to report on the sexual misconduct allegations against Andrew.

"When my brother's situation became turbulent, being looped into calls with other friends of his and advisors that did include some of his staff — I understand why that was a problem for CNN," Chris said during his on-air apology, going on to say that he never tried to influence the network's coverage of this brother.

"This is a unique and difficult situation and that's okay," he added. "I know where the line is."

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During his interview on The New York Times podcast, Tapper was also asked about former CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin, who has gone on record as saying the "most influential" and "highest-paid" people at the network are all men.

"I think what Brooke said was wrong. I love Brooke, I'm a fan of Brooke, but I think what she said was just factually incorrect," said The Devil May Dance author.

In addition to naming several high-profile anchors, Tapper noted that "arguably Allison Gollust of communications is one of the most powerful and influential people at CNN."

Tapper added, "Women run a lot at CNN. It's very important to me, as a white man, to make sure that the show reflects the diversity of our nation. And I'm always telling my team, and they know this, and my team is incredibly diverse, that I don't want any all-white men panels ever. Period. Done. I don't want it."

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