Jeff Zucker "resignation" from CNN

So Jeff Zucker had a longtime relationship/affair with an employee and didn't tell anyone. It was officially uncovered during the Chris Cuomo investigation, even though many CNN employees said it was common knowledge for many years. Rumor is that CNN gave him an ultimatum, resign or get fired.

https://www.reuters.com/business/media-telecom/jeff-zucker-resigns-cnn-president-2022-02-02/

"Zucker, 56, said in a memo that his relationship came to light during the network’s investigation into the conduct of Chris Cuomo, a primetime CNN anchor who was fired in December for assisting his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was accused of sexual misconduct."


Zucker, as much as any single person, gave us Trump.


He is said to have had a long term consensual affair with fellow employee.  He was essentially fired for it—- was she?


Apollo_T said:

He is said to have had a long term consensual affair with fellow employee. He was essentially fired for it—- was she?

No. Zucker was her boss; as I understand it, company policy obligated him, not her, to disclose the relationship.


I've been watching "The Morning Show" on Apple-TV+ and it mirrors the Zucker story pretty  closely. On The Morning Show, the guilty party is the show's co-anchor (Steve Carell)  but the machinations, plotting, rumor-mongering, jockeying for position, cover ups and lies seem pretty realistic.


DaveSchmidt said:

Apollo_T said:

He is said to have had a long term consensual affair with fellow employee. He was essentially fired for it—- was she?

No. Zucker was her boss; as I understand it, company policy obligated him, not her, to disclose the relationship.

This is my understanding. He did not disclose the relationship as required by company policy.


The_Soulful_Mr_T said:

I've been watching "The Morning Show" on Apple-TV+ and it mirrors the Zucker story pretty  closely. On The Morning Show, the guilty party is the show's co-anchor (Steve Carell)  but the machinations, plotting, rumor-mongering, jockeying for position, cover ups and lies seem pretty realistic.

I always assumed it was Matt Lauer.


Zucker was quite close to the Cuomos', and advised the Gov on his TV presentations, joint shows with Chris, etc. So he was a non-disclosing hypocrite, just as the non disclosure of Chris helping his brother was, as well. That's why Chris' lawyers forced Zucker to fess up about the relationship, hoping it would increase the settlement Chris gets for being forced out of his job and career, by millions of dollars. 


@Jasmo - That explanation makes the whole scenario make so much more sense now.


jimmurphy said:

The_Soulful_Mr_T said:

I've been watching "The Morning Show" on Apple-TV+ and it mirrors the Zucker story pretty  closely. On The Morning Show, the guilty party is the show's co-anchor (Steve Carell)  but the machinations, plotting, rumor-mongering, jockeying for position, cover ups and lies seem pretty realistic.

I always assumed it was Matt Lauer.

The Morning Show definitely borrows from the Matt Lauer saga.


Gollust has been pushed out as well.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/15/media/jeff-zucker-allison-gollust/index.html

(CNN Business) Nearly two weeks after CNN president Jeff Zucker was forced out of his position, his former lieutenant Allison Gollust has also resigned from the company.

In a memo to staffers Tuesday evening, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said Gollust resigned after an investigation "into issues associated with" former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and his brother Andrew, the former New York governor."Based on interviews of more than 40 individuals and a review of over 100,000 texts and emails, the investigation found violations of Company policies, including CNN's News Standards and Practices, by Jeff Zucker, Allison Gollust, and Chris Cuomo," Kilar said in the memo.


I mean, you have to blame the woman, amirite?


nohero said:

I mean, you have to blame the woman, amirite?

In this particular case, she was hardly blameless, but in fact, complicit up to her eyeballs.  She had worked for Andrew Cuomo before Zucker, helped to facilitate their relationship, was deeply involved in company policy, and was expected to take over after Zucker retired next year. Lots of people, of all sexes and genders, felt that it was unfair that Zucker got the axe, while Gollust remained untouched.  They also resented Zucker promoting her over others who had paid their dues and might have been more deserving.


Jasmo said:

More news on Allison Gollust improprieties today:

https://nypost.com/2022/02/18/former-cnn-exec-allison-gollust-allowed-ex-ny-gov-andrew-cuomo-to-select-interview-topics/?utm_campaign=nypdaily&utm_source=sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20220219&lctg=607d8f8270302947037fca35&utm_term=NYP%20-%20Morning%20Report

I won't read the story out of principle, but the headline says enough.

It is very common for interviewees to be asked if there are any topics they want to be covered. The press then decides whether to do so or not.

i.e. this story is b.s.


Drummerboy, I'm not sure which principle you are referring to, but here's a link to the article in the NY Times, if you were reluctant to read a Post story.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/18/business/media/allison-gollust-cnn-cuomo.html?searchResultPosition=1 .  

The Times article states, "Producers and bookers for television news shows routinely talk with guests before their scheduled appearances and discuss questions and topics that are likely to come up on air. It is unusual, though, for a senior executive to be involved in that pre-interview process — especially when that executive previously worked for the person who’s being interviewed."

So it seems that this isn't the common prep for an interview, as it involves senior executive involvement, although the ethics of the situation are somewhat gray.

drummerboy said:

Jasmo said:

More news on Allison Gollust improprieties today:

https://nypost.com/2022/02/18/former-cnn-exec-allison-gollust-allowed-ex-ny-gov-andrew-cuomo-to-select-interview-topics/?utm_campaign=nypdaily&utm_source=sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20220219&lctg=607d8f8270302947037fca35&utm_term=NYP%20-%20Morning%20Report

I won't read the story out of principle, but the headline says enough.

It is very common for interviewees to be asked if there are any topics they want to be covered. The press then decides whether to do so or not.

i.e. this story is b.s.


maybe it's uncommon for a person in her position, (maybe, who really knows) but it makes sense to leverage her connections with a high profile person like Cuomo, doesn't it? Is there something wrong with that?

Seems like it's WarnerMedia just trying to cast aspersions.

nothing-burger if you ask me.



and the principle is not giving the NYPost undeserved clicks.


drummerboy said:

maybe it's uncommon for a person in her position, (maybe, who really knows)

(A beat reporter.)


DaveSchmidt said:

drummerboy said:

maybe it's uncommon for a person in her position, (maybe, who really knows)

(A beat reporter.)

"It is unusual, though, for a senior executive to be involved in that
pre-interview process — especially when that executive previously worked
for the person who’s being interviewed."

Well, given the conditions, of course it's unusual. How often has a media executive worked for the person being interviewed?

still a nothing-burger.

or do you think it's a something-burger?


drummerboy said:

Well, given the conditions, of course it's unusual. How often has a media executive worked for the person being interviewed?

still a nothing-burger.

or do you think it's a something-burger?

Well, since someone did ask me.

When a TV or radio show staffer asks interview subjects what they’d like to talk about, it’s information that the interviewer or producer feels free to decide whether to use or not. When the executive vice president of the company conveys the information to the interviewer or producer, it carries a different weight. And when that executive used to be one of the subject’s aides, it carries different ethics.


DaveSchmidt said:

drummerboy said:

Well, given the conditions, of course it's unusual. How often has a media executive worked for the person being interviewed?

still a nothing-burger.

or do you think it's a something-burger?

Well, since someone did ask me.

When a TV or radio show staffer asks interview subjects what they’d like to talk about, it’s information that the interviewer or producer feels free to decide whether to use or not. When the executive vice president of the company conveys the information to the interviewer or producer, it carries a different weight. And when that executive used to be one of the subject’s aides, it carries different ethics.

sure, but the question is whether those superfine gradations of weight and ethics are firing offenses.


Who really knows if it’s uncommon?

Reporters.

Is there anything wrong with it?

There could be. Here’s why.

But a firing offense?

You finally stumped me.


The article, it should be noted, does not say that interaction was the sole reason for Gollust’s departure. It says this:

In a memo to employees this week, Jason Kilar, the chief executive of WarnerMedia, which is CNN’s parent company, wrote that Ms. Gollust was resigning after the internal investigation found unspecified “violations of company policies, including CNN’s news standards and practices,” by her, Mr. Zucker and Chris Cuomo.

And this:

The Cravath investigators also uncovered extensive written communications between Governor Cuomo and Ms. Gollust, who had briefly worked for the governor in late 2012 and early 2013, the people said.

It wasn’t clear what all of those communications were about.


I'm not saying they shouldn't have resigned or be let go, but WarnerMedia is not making the most convincing case.

What started as a romantic entanglement seems to have morphed, partly through innuendo (your excerpt cites few details), into something bigger.

But mostly, this just strikes me as a big case of inside-baseball.


DaveSchmidt said:

The article, it should be noted, does not say that interaction was the sole reason for Gollust’s departure.


someone needs to tell the headline writer, who clearly implies that.


drummerboy said:

I'm not saying they shouldn't have resigned or be let go, but WarnerMedia is not making the most convincing case.

What started as a romantic entanglement seems to have morphed, partly through innuendo (your excerpt cites few details), into something bigger.

But mostly, this just strikes me as a big case of inside-baseball.

full disclosure, I used to work at WM (although not at CNN).  The likely reason that WM is not making a more convincing case to the public is that much of the personnel information is kept confidential.  I had to fire someone when I was there, and my instructions from HR if I was ever asked about the person to simply confirm s(he) worked in my group.  I've also had to fire people at two other large media companies, and it was the same.  Which I would have to believe is the policy at virtually any company that cares about avoiding future lawsuits.

They don't owe you or I an explanation as long as they had sound reasons for terminating a person's employment.

And not for nothing, but WM's acquisition by Discovery is imminent (shareholder vote on March 11).  It's possible that Kilar is cleaning house now to start new management off without this albatross hanging on CNN.


Gollust hitched her wagon to Zucker a long time ago.

Zucker was in charge during the Toobin fiasco, the Cuomo firing, and disastrous ratings.  CNN's ratings were way down in 2021 and they were crushed by FOX News and MSNBC.  Also, many blamed Zucker for CNN's excessive coverage of Trump's campaign and presidency.

It seems like the undisclosed relationship with Gollust with the final straw.  Once Zucker was gone, it was just a matter of time before Gollust was gone.

I agree with ml1 that the WM is cleaning house.


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