In December 2021, CNN fired longtime anchor Chris Cuomo following an investigation into his involvement in his brother and former New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s defense against sexual-harassment accusations. Reports on the findings of that investigation also suggested the network had found similar allegations against the anchor. Now, a former colleague has come forward accusing Chris Cuomo of inappropriate behavior. Former CNN commentator Angela Rye claimed on her new podcast that he sent her an explicit text less than a month before the network chose not to renew her contract.
Rye spoke about the incident during the first episode of her new podcast, Native Land Pod, which she co-hosts with former MSNBC anchor Tiffany Cross and former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum. While discussing her departure from CNN, Rye claimed that a network executive called her the day after Joe Biden’s inauguration to tell her that CNN was not renewing her contract, saying the network planned to focus “more on COVID coverage and less on politics.” As she racked her brain as to why the decision had been made, she said she kept returning to “one of the most embarrassing, humiliating experiences I had.” Less than a month before the conversation with the network, on New Year’s Day, Rye claimed Cuomo had texted her a screenshot of a photo she posted to Instagram in which she wore a gold-sequined bikini, writing, “Happy New Year, tinsel crotch.”
“Stunned, I read and reread the message a dozen times, trying to understand if I somehow brought this on myself,” Rye said, choking up during the recording. “I felt like the safest place I had on a show on CNN had been compromised.” She claimed that Cuomo then texted her “Hello” a few hours later, and the next day asked her to call him to “discuss work.” Rye said she ignored his messages for a week, then reached out to see if he still wanted to talk: “As I think about this, it feels so fucking small compared to what other women in the workplace experience, but I was afraid to speak up.”
Rye claimed that Cuomo did share his pitch for a “prominent regular role for me where I would check the left” on his prime-time show. She added that, because of the New Year’s Day incident, she had doubts. “If I called him out, I was risking everything I was finally starting to build with the network,” she said. “As someone who is known for being courageous, I cannot begin to tell you how much I felt, and even now feel, like a coward.” Before conversations about her role could move forward, she got the news that her contract wouldn’t be renewed.
Rye says that Cuomo texted her from a new number in 2023 and asked if she was mad at him. “I was, but I was really mad at myself,” she said, addressing Cuomo directly. “I was mad at myself for protecting your image with the Black women I know who loved you and looked forward to hearing your voice. I know I’m not the only one, and truthfully I’m mad about that too — that everyone is giving you a pass for fear of what it might mean to hold you accountable for clearly inappropriate behavior.”
The Cut has reached out to Cuomo for comment and will update this post if we hear back. CNN has declined to comment.