Three months after his firing, former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo is seeking a massive payout from the network.
Cuomo's attorneys filed a demand for arbitration Wednesday, which said the fired anchor is seeking $125 million in damages, according to Deadline. They claim this amount reflects not only the remainder of his contract but also additional earnings he will lose due to an alleged "smear campaign" by CNN.
"Cuomo has had his journalistic integrity unjustifiably smeared, making it difficult if not impossible for Cuomo to find similar work in the future and damaging him in amounts exceeding $125 million," the filing says. "Cuomo now seeks to recover the full measure of his damages against Turner and CNN."
CNN fired Cuomo in December following revelations about his efforts to help his brother, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), amid a sexual harassment scandal. The network said Cuomo's behavior was a "breach of journalistic ethics." In May 2021, Cuomo told viewers, "When my brother's situation became turbulent, being looped into calls with other friends of his and advisers that did include some of his staff, I understand why that was a problem for CNN." But in November, the New York attorney general's office released emails showing Cuomo also asked his sources for information on his brother's accusers and helped the governor craft a response to charges, and the CNN anchor was also accused of sexual misconduct.
Wednesday's filing called CNN's choice to fire Cuomo "indefensible," and it claimed then-CNN President Jeff Zucker violated his contract by "failing to instruct CNN employees not to disparage Cuomo." Cuomo's attorney Bryan Freedman also told Deadline he's "owed a full apology from those responsible." Zucker has since stepped down from CNN himself for failing to disclose a relationship with a colleague.