Shelley Ross finds Chris Cuomo assault allegation 'sickening': We want this 'unacceptable behavior to end'

“I find the latest reports of the anonymous woman who says she was sexually assaulted by Chris Cuomo in his ABC office to be sickening,” she told Fox News Digital.

Then-CNN President Jeff Zucker fired Cuomo in December following a brief suspension, reportedly for a separate misconduct allegation against him from his tenure at ABC News. The New York Times reported a woman alleged that in 2011, as a temporary employee, she was invited by Cuomo for lunch in his office, where he “badgered her for sex” and assaulted her when she declined, before running out of the room. Cuomo has reportedly denied the accusation privately and claimed nothing inappropriate occurred. 

(Shelley Ross/Chris Cuomo)

CHRIS CUOMO ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT IN BOMBSHELL REPORT ABOUT CNN TURMOIL

The accusation came in a letter from attorney Debra Katz on behalf of her anonymous client to CNN during its law firm’s probe into Cuomo’s conduct. According to the report, the woman attempted to “smooth things over” with friendly emails to Cuomo in the hopes of landing a full-time job at ABC, and she had told “five friends and former colleagues” about “unwelcome sexual requests” from Cuomo but refrained from sharing the assault claim until the past year. 

Ross went public with her story of being harassed by Cuomo in September, penning a New York Times op-ed about the incident. Cuomo squeezed her buttock at a bar in 2005 during a party and, according to Ross, said boastfully he could do that since she was no longer his boss. She produced an email he sent shortly after, apologizing for his “hearty greeting,” notably expressing regret to her husband first and then to her. Ross said that Cuomo’s email seemed like an effort to “evade accountability.”

“As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature. It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it,” Cuomo said in a statement last year.

Ross wrote at the time she didn’t want Cuomo to be fired but rather to use his platform to advance workplace and harassment issues. At that point, Cuomo’s brother Andrew Cuomo had been recently forced to resign as New York governor for sexual misconduct allegations, which he famously did not cover on his CNN show. 

CHRIS CUOMO A ‘DESPISED FIGURE’ WITHIN CNN AT THIS POINT AS FALLOUT CONTINUES OVER HIS FIRING: INSIDER

LEFT: NEW YORK - JANUARY 23: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and guest Chris Cuomo during Thursday's January 23, 2020 show. (Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images) RIGHT: NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 09: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the opening ceremony for the Tribeca Film Festival on June 9, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Carlo Allegri-Pool/Getty Images) 

LEFT: NEW YORK – JANUARY 23: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and guest Chris Cuomo during Thursday’s January 23, 2020 show. (Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images) RIGHT: NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 09: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the opening ceremony for the Tribeca Film Festival on June 9, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Carlo Allegri-Pool/Getty Images)  (Right: (Photo by Carlo Allegri-Pool/Getty Images) LEFT: (Photo by Carlo Allegri-Pool/Getty Images))

Chris Cuomo privately worked closely with his brother’s political team on responding to the allegations, which came out in news reports last year. The extent of his involvement, which included snooping on accusers and journalists reporting about his brother, ultimately led to his suspension and the investigation that prompted his firing.

Ross, who has worked at ABC, CBS, and NBC as an executive and producer, said no other woman had contacted her directly about being harassed by Cuomo. He now has at least two misconduct allegations against him, one of which he already admitted was true.  

“I understand why women are reluctant [to come] forward,” Ross told Fox News Digital. “Those who do are often vilified, treated with suspicion, disbelief. Our motives are questioned when we are just looking for accountability and for this unacceptable behavior to end.” 

Zucker hired Cuomo in 2013 to co-host CNN’s new morning show, “New Day,” and he moved to his primetime slot on “Cuomo Prime Time” in 2018. Zucker and CNN communications executive Allison Gollust have both been forced out as a result of the investigation into Cuomo, after their undisclosed sexual relationship came to light. 

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.

Comments are closed.