Today, Chris Cuomo took part in a live Q&A on twitter at 7:30 am Pacific to discuss the recent events that led to him being suspended from CNN. You can read the transcript below:
When Maria Bartiromo announced on set that she would be talking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo for “Your Money”, everyone instantly knew something was going on between them. She did say she would be doing this, but the reaction afterwards in my Twitter feed was shocking for people watching CNN.
As the whole plane dropped from CNN, a few minutes later I was supposed to be doing, without a doubt, one of the biggest interviews of my career. The question that everyone wanted to know the answer to was, “who is Maria Bartiromo?” That is pretty remarkable considering I was once suspended by CNN. The story was about to blow up.
A few weeks later, I am getting the phone call from CNN President Jeff Zucker saying that he is suspending me for three weeks for conducting an interview with the author of a book about Roger Ailes. The book is attacking Roger Ailes, with me as a promotional interview. Not a bad book – it had something to say about Fox, yes, but also me. I was surprised by this because after that interview, which was conducted a week before the report that Roger Ailes was accused of sexual harassment, I was told by a trusted source who looked into the matter that nothing had happened. On a network that felt it was my job to keep a lid on any allegations about Roger Ailes, I was taking on what he felt should be secret.
That interview got a lot of attention. And I came home and thought about what had happened. Fox had launched a massive backlash against me, as did Ailes. His people were saying I was a liar and/or a slut, and that I lied under oath in the 2008 election, and making claims that something had happened. I was surprised by this, because all I had done was conduct an interview with a book writer about Ailes. I told the story of Roger’s tough dad, and how both of his parents were forced to quit their jobs because they couldn’t deal with the stress.
I asked the investigator how long had it been since those reports had surfaced. Five minutes into the call, the investigator said that the Ailes attorneys could not find anything that had happened. So I did what I always do. I gave the lawyers the books and documents related to Roger Ailes.
The Ailes people then took a crack at me. He released copies of the interviews I gave to the media about my work for the McCain campaign, made claims that I was exaggerating how dangerous my life was in Afghanistan and had a truly frightening death threat in Afghanistan.
I later learned that a Fox management member had sent a letter to Dianne Feinstein’s office asking her to investigate the story, calling me a liar and threatening to have me prosecuted in a war crimes case for supposedly raping a woman in Iraq, which it was definitely not. Ailes then attacked another prominent journalist who had given an interview about me in full graphic detail.
There are more than 1,000 stories about my career as a reporter and editor, but I will say that my three weeks of CNN suspension turned out to be the most serious I had been put in during all of my decades as a reporter. It felt like my life was being scrutinized.
The episode was already hard enough to deal with when it happened, but on the day it was first reported, Maria took her show off the air. This was the first time I had ever seen an anchor do anything like this, yet Maria decided to play into the image that the network was setting of me as a provocateur. She publicly accused me of doing something that had not happened. The thing is, the only allegation that was ever made was by Ailes’ lawyer. It was not about me personally, although I was told by friends around Ailes that I could have a much harder time getting work in politics if I remained close to Ailes.
I had heard that Maria did not want me on her show, but this was the first time I had actually seen it on the air. I was outraged. I believed that I was being set up for a grilling by the network, and it was all of the reason I agreed to give an interview to Maria.
There was nothing in that story, as far as I could tell, that made any sense. I had worked with her through the years. I believed she had every right to defend herself and to inform her viewers of the story. But I also believed that we should all share the power we have over our opinions. The result of that interview