A former ABC executive producer has accused CNN host Chris Cuomo of sexually harassing her at a 2005 work party.
Cuomo reportedly grabbed the butt the former producer, Shelley Ross, in front of her husband, an action for which Cuomo later apologized.
Veteran TV journalist Ross wrote about the incident, which reportedly rook place in an Upper West Side bar, in a New York Times op-ed published Friday.
"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 wrote, adding that Cuomo then said, "I can do this now that you're no longer my boss."
In the piece, Ross details (and includes a picture of) an email Cuomo sent her in the aftermath of the incident, in which he apologized for his behavior. "Pass along my apology to your very good and noble husband ... and I apologize to you as well, for even putting you in such a position," wrote Cuomo.
Ross said she, at the time, was working as an executive producer of an ABC entertainment program, but had previously been Cuomo's boss on ABC's "Primetime Live.
"I've always seen it as an attempt to provide himself with legal and moral coverage to evade accountability," wrote Ross of Cuomo's apology, though she said he may view it as a sincere effort to make amends.
In a statement regarding the incident, Cuomo said, "As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature. It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it."
Ross's account comes in the aftermath of Chris Cuomo's involvement in consulting his brother – former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – as he tried to save his career in the wake of an attorney general report that accused him of sexually harassing 11 women. Throughout former Governor Cuomo's many-months long fall from grace, Chris Cuomo did not discuss the issue on his primetime CNN show. Upon discovering the nature of his involvement in counseling his brother during the political fallout of the report and subsequent resignation, some have called for CNN to fire Chris Cuomo.
"If Mr. Cuomo and CNN management don’t think he crossed a serious line, one that warrants consequences, I know he crossed a line with me," wrote Ross.