Chris Cuomo apologized to the husband of the woman he’s accused of sexually harassing before apologizing to her, email suggests

Chris Cuomo
The CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo. REUTERS/Mike Blake
  • Back in 2005, Chris Cuomo sent an email to his former boss after she said he sexually harassed her.
  • Shelley Ross said he lowered his hand to “firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock.”
  • In his email shortly afterward, Cuomo first apologized to her “very good and noble husband.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Shelley Ross, a former executive producer at ABC and CBS who accused Chris Cuomo of sexually harassing her at a colleague’s going-away party in 2005, says the CNN host apologized to her husband before he apologized to her after the incident.

Ross, who was the executive producer of an ABC entertainment special and previously was Cuomo’s executive producer at “Primetime Live,” said in Friday’s New York Times op-ed article about the incident that Cuomo grabbed her buttocks during the party.

As part of the article, Ross shared an email dated June 1, 2005, in which a sender identified as Cuomo said he was “ashamed” of what he’d done and apologized to her “very good and noble husband” before apologizing to her, “for even putting you in such a position.”

The sender added that he would “remember the lesson, no matter how happy I am to see you…” according to a screenshot of the email shared by Ross.

“Was he ashamed of what he did, or was he embarrassed because my husband saw it?” Ross wrote in the Times op-ed article. “Mr. Cuomo may say this is a sincere apology. I’ve always seen it as an attempt to provide himself with legal and moral coverage to evade accountability.”

Beyond the initial scrutiny Cuomo faced last year for interviewing his brother while he was still governor, the CNN anchor has been weathering turbulence on the PR front through much of 2021.

Not only was he unable to cover any of the multiple scandals plaguing his brother’s administration prior to Andrew’s resignation, but Chris was also named in the bombshell NY attorney general report that corroborated the allegations of 11 women accusing the former governor of sexual harassment.

Independent investigators found that Chris was moonlighting as an off-the-books adviser to his brother during the height of the scandals, for which he later apologized. CNN executives even suggested he could take time off to advise his brother and then come back to his show, according to The New York Times.

Insider contacted Chris Cuomo and CNN for a request for comment on Friday morning.

Neither responded with a statement, but Cuomo described his encounter with Ross as “not sexual” in his response to the NYT op-ed.

“As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature,” Cuomo wrote. “It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it.”

In her essay, Ross emphasized that she does not believe Cuomo should be fired.

She also wrote that she “never thought that Mr. Cuomo’s behavior was sexual in nature,” but still described the encounter as “sexual harassment,” which she called a “a hostile act meant to diminish and belittle his female former boss in front of the staff.”