Ex-President of CNN Jeff Zucker & Girlfriend Allison Gollust Broke Network Ethics, Report Says

© AFP 2023 / DANIEL SLIMThe CNN center is seen in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, on October 16, 2021
The CNN center is seen in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, on October 16, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.02.2022
On Wednesday, Jeff Zucker announced his resignation as chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, and president of CNN Worldwide. He stepped down over his relationship with his subordinate, Allison Gollust, the network's executive vice president for communications.
Jeff Zucker and his girlfriend broke CNN's ethics rules by lobbying disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for an interview about his brother Chris' prime-time show, according to a new op-ed published in The Washington Post.
According to the article, the pair directly contacted the former governor and asked him to appear on Chris Cuomo's programme during the pandemic, even though an interview between the two brothers breached journalistic protocols.
A significant role in this was played by Gollust, CNN's executive vice president for communications – and Zucker's girlfriend – who also worked for Andrew Cuomo as his communications director for four months. She used her contacts to reach out to the former governor and convince him to make an appearance.
"A CNN spokesperson notes that executives pressing public officials for interviews is standard practice, and that’s 100 percent correct. Gollust reportedly argued for appearances on non-Chris Cuomo shows, too," The WaPo's media critic Erik Wemple noted.
The revelation puts both Zucker and Gollust in the crosshairs, particularly raising questions about the latter's continued employment by CNN – her boyfriend was the only one to resign over their "open secret" relationship.
There is a certain irony that it was reportedly Chris Cuomo's lawyers who informed Zucker's bosses, executives at parent company AT&T, of his undisclosed affair with Gollust that breached the company's rules.
Embattled Chris Cuomo and his legal team are seeking an $18 million payout from CNN, arguing that Zucker was well aware of Chris' actions to help his brother amid the sexual harassment scandal that led to his resignation.
According to The Wall Street Journal, another CNN anchor – Jake Tapper – said that Chris Cuomo hired a lawyer who hinted at the possibility of leaking information about Zucker's unethical relationship unless the then-CNN honcho gave him the payout. Zucker refused, and Chris "blew the place up."

"The scale of Chris Cuomo’s misdeeds should not be diminished. They were certainly lapses on a grand scale. But make no mistake: he had accomplices," Wemple finalised in his op-ed.

Zucker announced his resignation on Wednesday, saying that he was asked about his relationship with Gollust as part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo's CNN tenure. He said he was "wrong" not to disclose a new stage in his relationship with Gollust, whom he worked with for some 20 years before ties between them "evolved in recent years."
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