CNN's Jake Tapper grills WarnerMedia CEO on 'perception' that Chris Cuomo 'blew the place up'

Jake Tapper
(Image credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

CNN staffers reportedly had some tough questions for the CEO of WarnerMedia following the abrupt resignation of Jeff Zucker as the network's president.

CNN's Washington D.C. bureau on Wednesday held a meeting with WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar to discuss the shock exit of Zucker, who resigned after admitting he failed to disclose a relationship with a colleague, Allison Gollust, Puck reports. Zucker said he was asked about the relationship as part of an investigation into fired CNN host Chris Cuomo, and Puck reports that there's a "strong belief among Zucker's inner circle" that Cuomo "pushed for investigators to look into the relationship."

Tapper in the meeting reportedly said Cuomo's attorney made "it very clear to the world that unless Jeff gives Chris Cuomo his money, they're going to blow the place up," and after Zucker's exit, "An outside observer might say, 'Wow, it looks like Chris Cuomo succeeded" and "blew the place up." Tapper added, "How do we get past that perception, that this is the bad guy winning?"

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Kilar told Tapper that what "we've got what's on the screens" at CNN will "define us going forward, far more than what's happened today," per Puck. But CNN White House correspondent Kaitlin Collins reportedly followed up to say, "I think the issue is that it's not a perception. What Jake just described is actually what happened here. Chris Cuomo is a man scorned because he was fired for being held accountable for his actions, and Jeff is part of the result of this." Collins also asked Kilar if he consulted with other executives about removing Zucker, but Kilar declined to answer.

CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash also reportedly expressed in the meeting that the network's staffers feel the "punishment didn't fit the crime" for Zucker, while anchor Kasie Hunt bemoaned that ahead of the launch of CNN+, "Now, every story that gets written about us is going to be this."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.