He later addressed the remark on Twitter, writing, "There is no understanding what it is to live as a black person in America if you are white but it is so important to listen"

By Eric Todisco
March 08, 2021 12:30 PM
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Chris Cuomo
Chris Cuomo
| Credit: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

CNN's Chris Cuomo has come under fire for saying he's "Black on the inside" during an exchange with his colleague Don Lemon on Friday.

The on-air comment came as the Cuomo Prime Time host, 50, was signing off and passing the baton to Lemon, 55, to kick off CNN Tonight with Don Lemon. Cuomo began singing the theme song to the '70s sitcom Good Times, which featured an African American family living in Chicago.

As Cuomo delivered his rendition, Lemon chuckled and asked, "How do you know the words to Good Times?"

"You know I'm Black on the inside," Cuomo responded.

Cuomo later addressed the remark on Twitter, writing, "Said with all respect to reality and our need to fight this amplification of color animus."

"There is no understanding what it is to live as a black person in America if you are white but it is so important to listen," he continued. "The majority must change racism."

When a Twitter user responded, "Oh, Chris. Yikes. We are allies, we are not black," Cuomo replied, "Absolutely true. And too many are not."

"I really do think my kids' generation is different tho [sic]," he continued. "They are not merely 'woke' or pc or language police, they really seem to date and hang and choose as fam, a real range of color, creed and identity."

Twitter users continued to call Cuomo out for the comment throughout the weekend.

"It's f---ing offensive," said journalist Aisha K. Staggers. "Black isn't something you can just say you feel you are inside without having to deal with the racism that comes with being physically Black on the outside. This is cultural appropriation."

Another Twitter user wrote, "Chris Cuomo just said to Don Lemon OUT LOUD on Wolf Blitzer's CNN, 'You know I'm Black on the inside,' and we had to turn off the television because I'm not here for that nonsense. @CNN needs to have some sensitivity training with their on-air personalities."

"The only black inside you is your privileged heart! Live and learn," a third person tweeted.

CNN did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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The backlash also drew further attention to recent allegations made against Cuomo's brother, Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Gov. Cuomo, 63, has been accused of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by a handful of women, several of whom were his former aides. He has said he "never inappropriately touched anybody" but apologized last week for what he insisted was inadvertent behavior. An independent investigation is ongoing.

"Are the Cuomo brothers competing for s-----est," Cuomo [right now]?" one person tweeted.

chris cuomo, andrew cuomo
Andrew (L) and Chris Cuomo
| Credit: David Dee Delgado/Getty; Noam Galai/Getty

Last week, Cuomo addressed the allegations against his brother on Cuomo Prime Time. "Obviously, I'm aware of what is going on with my brother, and obviously, I cannot cover it because he is my brother," he said. "Now of course CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively, and they will continue to do so."

Cuomo added that he has "always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so."

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.