United Kingdom

Chris Cuomo sexual harassment accuser says he hasn't changed in the 16 years since he 'groped' her

The woman who accused CNN anchor Chris Cuomo of groping her back in 2005 says he's 'no more enlightened today than he was then' after he denied their 'interaction' was sexual last week.

Shelley Ross, who was the executive producer of Cuomo's Primetime Live show, wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times last week that Cuomo squeezed the cheek of her buttock without her permission 

In response, Cuomo - who has barely been seen since the allegations last week - appeared to dismiss the claim, and noted that he had apologized to her back then.

'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,' he said. 'I apologized to her then, and I meant it.'   

But Ross slammed Cuomo's statement, saying it proves that the CNN anchor has not changed in the 16 years since the incident at a going-away party for an ABC colleague.

'I was hoping that in 15, 16 years that he had changed,' she told Insider, 'but he's no more enlightened today than he was then, as demonstrated by his response.'

'I don't acknowledge that there's anything that was "our interaction,"' she said. 'I was not a participant. I was groped. 'And so to say that I acknowledge the interaction, no. That shows a lack of enlightenment.' 

Ross had previously written that she did not want Cuomo to be fired from CNN, where he has served as an anchor since 2013, but instead urged him to 'journalistically repent' for his behavior.

Cuomo broke cover on Sunday dressed casually in shorts, a t-shirt and a baseball cap with sunglasses to drive his vintage Pontiac Firebird in the Hamptons. The host seems to be holed up in the Hamptons and was last spotted dashing the Hamptons airport headed for New York City to host Cuomo Prime Time on CNN.  He did not address the allegation in his show on Friday night.

He gave photographers a thumbs-up, even as he deals with the allegations. 


On Sunday, Cuomo was seen driving his vintage Pontiac Firebird in the Hamptons

He gave photographers a thumbs-up amidst the groping allegations

Cuomo dressed casually in a t-shirt, shorts, a baseball cap and sunglasses on Sunday in the Hamptons 

Shelley Ross, left, a former executive producer of Cuomo's Primetime Live show, accused CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, right, of groping her at a party in 2005. He has not denied these allegations, and noted that he apologized to her after the incident

At the time of the alleged incident, Ross had recently moved jobs from executive producer at ABC's 'Primetime Live' - where Cuomo was an anchor - to becoming the executive producer of an ABC entertainment special.

Ross said Cuomo explained his actions away on the night as being okay because she was 'no longer my boss.' 

'I was at the party with my husband, who sat behind me on an ottoman sipping his Diet Coke as I spoke with work friends,' she wrote in the op ed. 

'When Mr. Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, he walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock.'

Cuomo told her 'I can do this now that you're no longer my boss,' she claimed, adding that it was said 'with a kind of cocky arrogance'. 

Ross said she pushed Cuomo away from her, with her husband witnessing what had happened. 

''No you can't,' I said, pushing him off me at the chest while stepping back, revealing my husband, who had seen the entire episode at close range. We quickly left,' she wrote.   

Cuomo, seen here on his show Cuomo Prime Time, reportedly sent Ross an emailed apology after the alleged incident in 2005

CHRIS CUOMO'S EMAIL APOLOGY

Subject line: 'Now that I think of it… I am ashamed.' 

Email: 'though my hearty greeting was a function of being glad to see you...

'Christian Slater got arrested for a (kind of) similar act (though borne of an alleged negative intent, unlike my own)...and as a husband i can empathize with not liking to see my wife patted as such...

'so pass along my apology to your very good and noble husband...and i apologize to you as well, for even putting you in such a position...

'next time, i will remember the lesson, no matter how happy i am to see you...' 

Ross said she received an email from Cuomo one hour later telling her she was 'ashamed' of his behavior.

The email, dated June 1 2005, first apologized to Ross's 'very good and noble husband' for having to witness his wife 'patted as such' - and apologized to her second.  

'Now that I think of it… I am ashamed,' read the subject line of the email. 

'though my hearty greeting was a function of being glad to see you...,' the email began. 

Cuomo then went on to compare his actions to that of Hollywood actor Christian Slater, who one month earlier had been arrested for allegedly randomly grabbing a woman's buttocks while she was walking through a street in Manhattan, New York City.

Slater was charged with third degree sexual abuse but the charges were later dropped.  

'Christian Slater got arrested for a (kind of) similar act (though borne of an alleged negative intent, unlike my own)...and as a husband i can empathize with not liking to see my wife patted as such...,' the email read. 

'so pass along my apology to your very good and noble husband...and i apologize to you as well, for even putting you in such a position...

He closed out the email with: 'next time, i will remember the lesson, no matter how happy i am to see you...' 

Ross told Insider on Friday that his statement to the Times following her op-ed proves he's 'no more enlightened today than he was then'

David Simone, Shelley Ross and Ryan Silverman in 2014. Ross said the groping incident happened in front of her husband Simone

In her op ed, Ross said she questioned whether Cuomo was 'ashamed' of 'what he did, or was he embarrassed because my husband saw it?'

She added: 'Mr. Cuomo may say this is a sincere apology. I've always seen it as an attempt to provide himself with legal and moral coverage to evade accountability.'

She also questioned whether their was a legal motive behind his email, pointing to the comparison Cuomo - a former lawyer - made with Slater, saying she believes he was attempting 'to legally differentiate the two incidents.' 

Ross said she was speaking out about the incident after watching Cuomo's handling of the sexual harassment scandal surrounding his brother Andrew.    

The governor stood down in disgrace in August when a damning investigation by the New York attorney general found he had sexually harassed at least 11 women.

The allegations began surfacing in December when the first of multiple women - many of them current and former aides in the governor's office - came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment. 

The governor was also rocked by the COVID-19 nursing home deaths scandal where his administration was accused of covering up the death toll in state facilities after he issued a March 2020 directive ordering nursing homes to readmit COVID-positive patients.

Questions also arose over the writing of his controversial memoir with allegations he had government staffers work on the private project.

The governor was also accused of giving special treatment to his friends and family - including Chris - in the early days of the pandemic, be providing them with COVID-19 tests when they were in short supply. 

CNN host Cuomo had often brought his brother onto his show during the pandemic - when the governor was on a pedestal for his handling of the crisis in New York.

When the allegations continued to mount against the governor, Chris Cuomo announced on his CNN show that he would not cover or interview his brother due to the scandal.  

'I have always cared very deeply about these issues and profoundly so. I just wanted to tell you that,' he told viewers in early March.

In May, it emerged that the CNN host had been advising his brother over the scandal.

This involvement drew the ire of his CNN colleagues and Cuomo was forced to apologize to viewers and colleagues. 

Calls mounted for his resignation from CNN and the network admitted his actions had been 'inappropriate.' 

The AG's report into the governor's behavior found that Cuomo had been part of 'ongoing and regular discussions about how to respond to the allegations publicly'.  

However, he insisted he was not advising him in a professional capacity but 'as a brother.' 

'It was a unique situation being a brother to a politician in a scandal and being part of the media,' he said live on air in mid-August.

 'I tried to do the right thing, and I just want you-all to know that.'  

Then, earlier this month Cuomo was spotted wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the word 'Truth' across it during a Labor Day getaway to the Hamptons. 

Cuomo has previously come under fire for advising his brother, former Governor Andrew Cuomo, right, during his sexual assault scandal over the summer

Ross said she questions whether her alleged harasser truly believes in 'accountability' for such behavior. 

'For me, his statement of profound concern about sexual harassment and his 'Truth' T-shirt were provocations in this era of personal accountability,' she wrote. 

'Given Mr. Cuomo's role as a supporter of and counselor to his brother, I am left again wondering about his relationship with truth and accountability. 

'Has this man always cared 'deeply' and 'profoundly' about sexual harassment issues?' 

Does he believe enough in accountability to step up and take some meaningful actions?' 

Ross pointed to accountability for people accused of enabling the governor's conduct, such as Time's Up's CEO Tina Tchen who stood down after it emerged the nonprofit was involved in a letter seeking to discredit allegations of an accuser.  

'While the fallout has continued across Governor Cuomo's circle of advisers... Mr. Cuomo and CNN seem to have moved on,' she wrote. 

'If Mr. Cuomo and CNN management don't think he crossed a serious line, one that warrants consequences, I know he crossed a line with me.' 

Ross said she doesn't wish for the CNN anchor to 'become the next casualty in this continuing terrible story.'

Instead, she said this could be a 'watershed moment instead of another stain on the career of one more powerful male news anchor''

'I would, however, like to see him journalistically repent: agree on air to study the impact of sexism, harassment and gender bias in the workplace, including his own, and then report on it,' she said, describing it as 'The Continuing Education of Chris Cuomo.' 

CHRIS CUOMO'S SCANDALS:

'Breaking quarantine' 

Chris Cuomo revealed he had contracted COVID-19 in March 2020 and quarantined in the basement of his family home in the Hamptons - and  reporting his CNN show live from there.

In April, he got into a spat with a cyclist who said he went past his home and saw the anchor not quarantining but instead outside in the garden of his home with his wife and children.

Cuomo lashed out at the man on his show calling him 'some jackass, loser, fat tire biker' and the cyclist filed a police report .

CNN then showed a video of Cuomo merging from his basement and rejoining his family after his quarantine.

'Violating mask rules'  

Cuomo was branded a hypocrite in October for reportedly violating New York's mask mandate.

Cuomo was sent a letter from the property management at his Manhattan apartment building warning him that he had been seen violating the order to wear a face covering in the public spaces.  

'You have been observed entering and exiting the building and riding the elevator without the required face coverings,' read the letter, sent in August and obtained by Fox.

The letter said staff had asked him to comply but he had 'refused.' 

He was threatened with a $500 fine if he continued to break the rules. 

The mask mandate was put in place by his brother Andrew Cuomo in April. 

Advising his 'sex pest' brother 

Cuomo often brought his brother Andrew onto his CNN show during the pandemic.

When allegations of sexual harassment began to mount against the governor, Cuomo said he would not cover or interview his brother due to the scandal.   

In May, it emerged he had been advising his brother over the scandal and Cuomo was forced to apologize to viewers and colleagues. 

Calls mounted for his resignation from CNN and the network admitted his actions had been 'inappropriate.'  

He insisted he was not advising him in a professional capacity but 'as a brother.'  

'I tried to do the right thing, and I just want you-all to know that,' he said.  

Spat over 'Fredo'

In 2019, a video went viral of Cuomo in a verbal fight with a group of men in a New York bar after they called him 'Fredo.'

Cuomo is heard in the video, which went viral, threatening to 'f**king throw you down these stairs like a f**king punk.'

The Italian-American likened the term 'Fredo' - a reference to a character in The Godfather and derogatory term for Italians - to 'the n-word for us' Italians. 

Football news:

The acting coach of Barcelona has been appointed Barhuan, who heads Barca B
Mbappe will miss the match with Lille due to illness. Ramos may return to the PSG general group next week
Lukaku's agent: Romelu kept Chelsea and Real Madrid in mind during his last season at Manchester United. Chelsea - the love of his childhood
Sinisha Mikhailovich: Osimhen is an illiterate player in a good sense of the word
Pique to a gay player who has made a coming-out: The football world is lagging behind, and you are helping us move forward. Thank you
Juventus was offered to sign Witzel as a free agent in the summer
Vinicius was racially abused during the match with Barca. La Liga will inform the prosecutor's office