Ousted CNN President Jeff Zucker reportedly wasn't initially 'forthcoming' about relationship with colleague

Jeff Zucker
(Image credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

Former CNN President Jeff Zucker wasn't initially "forthcoming" with investigators about his relationship with a colleague before being forced out at the network, a new report says.

Zucker abruptly resigned last week after admitting he failed to disclose a relationship with a colleague, CNN chief marketing officer ​​Allison Gollust, something he said he was asked about during an investigation into fired CNN host Chris Cuomo. A report from The Wall Street Journal on Friday revealed new details surrounding Zucker's ouster, including that he at first didn't admit to the relationship.

"Mr. Zucker and Ms. Gollust ... initially weren't forthcoming about the relationship when asked by investigators, people familiar with the matter said," the Journal reported. "Eventually, they each acknowledged it to investigators, the people said."

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This, Journal reporter Joe Flint added, was a "move which sealed Zucker's fate." WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar reportedly told Zucker at the end of January he would have to step down, and the Journal says although Zucker asked to stay on at least until the ongoing WarnerMedia merger with Discovery closed, Kilar wouldn't allow him to do so.

Kilar's decision to force out Zucker sparked pushback from CNN staffers, who reportedly grilled him at a recent meeting. In particular, Puck reported that anchor Jake Tapper and correspondent Kaitlin Collins suggested Zucker's ouster could be blamed on Chris Cuomo, who has been seeking a settlement after being fired over his role in advising his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), in handling sexual harassment allegations. Tapper 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 now, "an outside observer might say, 'Wow, it looks like Chris Cuomo succeeded.'"

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