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Disgraced ex-CNN anchor Chris Cuomo has struck back hard against his former employer with an explosive legal filing demanding a jaw-dropping $125 million in arbitration as well as accusing several of the network’s top personalities of engaging in a smear campaign against him.
The self-proclaimed “most trusted name in news” pulled the plug on its prime time host in December after an investigation found that he had abused his position to run interference for his older brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who was facing allegations from multiple women that he had acted in an inappropriate manner toward them.
It was one scandal too many for the hot-headed newsman who was also facing his own troubles with women who accused him of boorish behavior and he was jettisoned in a shakeup that would also claim his boss, network president Jeffrey Zucker who stepped down two months later under a lingering stink cloud over the network and the ex-governor.
In a document filed on Wednesday, Cuomo’s lawyers argue that as a result of the “indefensible” firing, he “has been damaged in countless ways” and that his being “smeared’ would make it hard for him to find a similar gig in the future, they also state that the network, Zucker and his girlfriend Allison Gollust were in the loop on efforts made to bail the embattled New York strongman out of his jam, Deadline reported.
“CNN, Zucker and Gollust were fully aware of the scope of Cuomo’s assistance to Gov. Cuomo and in fact participated in and encouraged the same behavior,” according to the filing.
Being whacked in such an embarrassing public fashion did not sit well with “Fredo” who lawyered up to extract his pound of flesh from CNN, reportedly demanding “Megyn Kelly money” in the neighborhood of $60 million, referring to the former Fox News host whose jump to rival NBC was a total disaster, resulting in her pocketing a reported $69 million after she was fired.
Chris Cuomo seeks eye-popping settlement with CNN, ‘he wants Megyn Kelly money,’ reports say https://t.co/OAHiVrTtQP
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 9, 2022
Evidently, “Megyn Kelly money” was a lowball figure to what Cuomo now wants to extract from CNN.
“Cuomo has had his journalistic integrity unjustifiably smeared, making it difficult if not impossible for Cuomo to find similar work in the future and damaging him in amounts exceeding $125 million, which includes not only the remaining salary owed under the Agreement, but future wages lost as a result of CNN’s efforts to destroy his reputation in violation of the Agreement,” his legal team states in the filing.
In a sign of how ugly things could get if Cuomo doesn’t get his way, he is prepared to drag in the A-team of CNN talking heads including star anchor Jake Tapper, chief media correspondent Brian Stelter and former BFF Don Lemon, all of whom he claims smeared his character, a violation of his agreement with Zucker.
According to the filing which cites a “complete failure by Zucker to abide by the terms of the Agreement by failing to instruct CNN employees not to disparage Cuomo,” it states, “not only did Zucker and CNN fail to instruct CNN employees not to disparage Cuomo, as required by the Agreement, but they themselves openly disparaged Cuomo in violation of the Agreement, with Zucker leading the charge.”
Brian Stelter turns on Chris Cuomo after CNN anchor gets fired, rips now-former colleague a new one https://t.co/luG6lR1vEo
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 5, 2021
The document states that “Other CNN staff joined in the calculated campaign to smear Cuomo and destroy his reputation. Jake Tapper, a CNN anchor, publicly assailed Cuomo’s ethics as a journalist and falsely claimed that Cuomo “threatened” Zucker. Don Lemon, another CNN anchor, falsely claimed that Cuomo had been “found to break with those journalistic standards and then [was] paid handsomely for it.” Brian Stelter, CNN’s chief media correspondent, said Cuomo was “acting like an unpaid staffer” for Gov. Cuomo and had been “trying to burn the place down” after CNN terminated him.”
Also cited by his attorneys are “countless anonymous CNN staffers slammed Cuomo in the press,” possibly referring to a report quoting former co-workers who said that the former host was a “despised figure” within the network.
News of Cuomo’s demand for six figures comes as the network is in a time of transition with Zucker’s replacement as CEO, longtime producer Chris Licht ready to take over once the Warner Bros-Discovery merger is finalized, giving him the power to conduct an expected reshuffling of the lineup with more of an emphasis on actual news.
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