Jeff Zucker has resigned as CNN Worldwide president after he was asked about his illicit relationship with a coworker, pointing to growing internal crisis in the American broadcasting network.
In a memo on Wednesday, Zucker said he was required to disclose details of his relationship with a coworker, to which he refused, and was stepping down from his position, effective immediately.
"As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo's tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years,” reads the explosive memo.
“I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but didn't. I was wrong. As a result, I am resigning today.”
While the top executive stopped short of naming the coworker, CNN said it was the company’s chief marketing officer, Allison Gollust, who continues in her position.
Jeff Zucker is one of the most morally bankrupt people alive and one of the most responsible for the deterioration of political media. He chose to treat the existence of a multi-racial liberal democracy as less important than getting himself even more rich. Good fucking riddance https://t.co/YXIv2tCTrO— Steve Morris (@stevemorris__) February 2, 2022
Zucker took over as CNN Worldwide president in 2013, after steadily working his way up from being a producer on the network’s "Today" show.
He led the network in years when former US President Donald Trump was called out for his lies by CNN, which prompted the Republican to call it “Fake News”.
In an email to staffers sent shortly after Zucker's resignation, Jason Kilar, the CEO of CNN parent WarnerMedia, said, "I have accepted Jeff Zucker's resignation as Chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, and President of CNN Worldwide. We thank Jeff for his contributions over the past 9 years."
The multinational news-based pay television channel headquartered in Atlanta, US, is not immune to controversies related to its employees.
In December last, network’s star anchor Chris Cuomo was fired for his efforts to help his brother, Andrew M. Cuomo, then governor of New York, stave off sexual harassment accusations.
CNN’s head Jeff Zucker just resigned for failing to disclose a relationship with a subordinate. He was caught as part of the Chris Cuomo investigation. It was Zucker who instituted my lifetime ban on CNN for saying I believed in the first amendment and boobs. Oh the irony. pic.twitter.com/sGpmcO7hpq— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 2, 2022
Interestingly, Cuomo had enjoyed the support of Zucker, and avoided any disciplinary action over his secret strategizing with Andrew Cuomo’s political aides, which constitutes breach of journalistic norms.
Last month, a report in Radar Online, quoting sources, said Zucker and Gollust, have been involved in a "clandestine romance dating back years."
“The talk in the corridors of CNN about Jeff and Allison’s purported relationship complicates the sticky decision to fire Chris,” it quoted a source as saying. “Have they sullied the network’s reputation? One could argue they have; it just hasn’t been made public yet.”