Shelley Ross, a longtime broadcast producer, accused CNN host Chris Cuomo of sexually harassing her at a party in 2005 and shared a screenshot of his emailed apology in a Friday guest essay in the New York Times.
Ross said she was working as an executive producer of an ABC entertainment program at the time, but had been Cuomo’s boss on ABC’s “Primetime Live” just prior. “I was at the party with my husband, who sat behind me on an ottoman sipping his Diet Coke as I spoke with work friends. When Mr. Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, he walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock,” she said.
“‘I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss,’ he said to me with a kind of cocky arrogance. ‘No you can’t,’ I said, pushing him off me at the chest while stepping back, revealing my husband, who had seen the entire episode at close range. We quickly left.”
In a screenshot of an email he sent after the party, Cuomo apologized for touching her—using the word “patted”—and said “I am ashamed.” Cuomo also added “next time, I will remember the lesson, no matter how happy i am to see you…”
Ross, who wrote that she is “not looking for him to lose his job,” said she sees Cuomo’s 2005 apology as legal cover, noting he used to be a lawyer and took care in the brief email to portray his actions as friendly, with no “negative intent.”