CNN's former anchor Chris Cuomo readies arbitration case

Chris Cuomo is fighting for $20 million and his reputation

For Chris Cuomo, his reputation is worth more than his $20-million contract. 

FOX Business has learned, from people close to the recently fired CNN anchor, that he plans to fight his dismissal by filing an arbitration case against his former employer. The timing is said to be "soon," according to those sources, and it will broadly argue that his dismissal was unfair. The claim is expected to state the network knew he was advising his brother Andrew, the former besieged governor of New York, over how to handle sexual harassment allegations brought against him. 

The resignation late Tuesday of Allison Gollust, former chief Jeff Zucker's underling, over a violation of company policies, may strengthen Cuomo's case, according to sources. Zucker fired him for failing to disclose the extent of the advising that he was doing for his brother Andrew. 

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The contretemps at CNN between its former top-rated anchor and Zucker — recently fired for having a sexual relationship himself, with underling Gollust — have become a major distraction at the network and parent WarnerMedia, which is merging with Discovery in a deal valued at $43 billion.

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Allison Gollust, communications director for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on Jan. 3, 2013, in Albany, New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

That distraction could get even more difficult as Cuomo is said to demand more than money. He wants his reputation cleared. FOX Business has learned that he — at least for now — is telling his lawyers that no deal can be reached without CNN issuing a statement that clears him of wrongdoing, effectively reversing what Zucker said following Cuomo’s firing.

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Cuomo, even before Gollust's resignation, was expected to argue that the actions of Zucker and Gollust, who pushed to have Andrew appear on his brother’s show frequently as the duo was a ratings winner, stepped over the line from journalism to providing advice, not much different from the actions that led to his termination.

The case is likely to go on for nine months if it isn’t settled.

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Inquiries by FOX Business to Jeff Zucker were not returned at the time of publication. A spokesperson for Chris Cuomo had no immediate comment, nor did reps at CNN and Discovery. 

*This story was updated following Gollust's resignation on 2-15-22.