On Feb. 2, the president of CNN, Jeff Zucker announced his resignation, effective immediately after it was discovered that he failed to disclose what he says was a “consensual relationship” with a CNN staffer.
“As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo’s tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years. I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong. As a result, I am resigning today,” Zucker wrote in a memo to staffers shared by Brian Stetler.
Zucker continued, “I came to CNN on January 28, 2013. Together, we had nine great years. I certainly wish my tenure here had ended differently. But it was an amazing run. And I loved every minute. I am grateful to the thousands of incredibly talented CNN and Turner Sports employees who helped make this such a joy for me, and such a success for all of us. I wish each of you nothing but the best in the years ahead.”
The relationship Zucker had was with CNN marketing chief Allison Gollust. Gollust will be remaining at CNN, Brian Stelter disclosed in a tweet. Industry insiders are saying that Zucker’s relationship with Gollust was an open secret.
In a statement following Zucker’s resignation Gollust said, “Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years. Recently, our relationship changed during COVID. I regret that we didn’t disclose it at the right time.”
Gollust was appointed as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s communications director in 2012 before joining Zucker at CNN the same year. She met Zucker during her 15-year tenure at NBC.
Series of shocking headlines
Zucker’s resignation follows a series of scandals that have plagued the embattled news outlet.
In December, a senior CNN producer, John Griffin, was arrested by the FBI after being charged with shocking sex crimes with girls as young as seven years old.
The CNN veteran was charged by a grand jury in Vermont, “with three counts of using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity.”
Griffin’s alleged crimes include coercing parents to allow their minor daughters to engage in sexual activity at his home. Griffin faces life in prison.
Also in December, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo was suddenly terminated by the news outlet after it was discovered the anchor aided his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, when the then-governor was accused of sexual harassment.
At the time, texts were uncovered that revealed that Chris Cuomo sought to use his connections in the media landscape to help prepare Andrew Cuomo’s team for the story to be made public.
“I’m not an adviser. I’m a brother. I wasn’t in control of anything. I was there to listen and offer my take,” Chris Cuomo said at that time.