Some of CNN’s most well-known anchors grilled WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar in a virtual meeting on Monday, just days after CNN president Jeff Zucker resigned after he admitted to failing to disclose a relationship with an executive at the network.
Richard Quest, host of the daily show Quest Means Business on CNN International, told Kilar: ‘There was the possibility of a more imaginative result that would’ve allowed you to keep the captain, instead of throwing the captain overboard while the ship is about to go through icebergs.’
Erin Burnett, who hosts the network’s 7pm hour, said she and her colleagues were ‘grieving’ and demanded more information about Zucker’s departure.
‘Moving on will require answers to these questions,’ she said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Zucker, 56, left his $6 million-a-year post last week after admitting to employees that he violated the company’s Standards of Business Conduct when he failed to disclose a ‘consensual relationship’ with Allison Gollust, marketing chief at the network.
Meanwhile, hosts Don Lemon and Oliver Darcy questioned Kilar, 50, on whether former host Chris Cuomo would get a severance package from CNN.
‘Did you think about what message it sends to the journalists in the company and also to the larger public that someone can be found to break with those journalistic standards and then get paid handsomely for it,’ Lemon reportedly asked Kilar.
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar was grilled by CNN’s New York-based anchors during a virtual meeting on Monday to discuss the ouster of CNN president Jeff Zucker
Zucker resigned last week after the Chris Cuomo scandal, which brought to light his relationship with executive Allison Gollust (right in 2011), an ‘open secret’ at the network
Erin Burnett, who hosts the network’s 7pm hour, said she and her colleagues were ‘grieving’ and demanded more information about Zucker’s departure
Host Richard Quest said Zucker’s ouster was akin to ‘throwing the captain overboard while the ship is about to go through icebergs’
Zucker’s indiscretion was revealed during an ongoing internal investigation into former CNN host Chris Cuomo, right, who was fired in December after it was revealed he helped coordinate the media strategy of his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after he was accused fo sexual harassment by a report from New York’s Attorney General
Kilar declined to answer questions about Cuomo’s severance package, though Zucker had previously said that Cuomo wouldn’t get one.
AT&T, CNN’s parent company, is said to be in negotiations to reach a deal that would see the fired anchor receive half of the $18 million he had been vying for before Jeff Zucker’s unexpected resignation, as first reported by the New York Post.
Zucker’s affair came to light during an internal investigation into Cuomo, which is being overseen by the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
Journalist Soledad O’Brien, who hosted the show Starting Point on CNN from 2012 to 2013, tweeted a response to reports of the virtual CNN meeting on Monday.
‘It’s hard to believe that these folks cover breaking news daily. It’s just so pathetic,’ O’Brien, 55, said.
The question over Cuomo’s severance package was first posed by Darcy, the network’s senior media reporter, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Cuomo hosted Cuomo Prime Time from 2017 until December, when he was fired after it was revealed that he helped his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, with his media strategy after the state’s attorney general released a report showing he sexually harassed 11 different women during his time as governor.
Journalist Soledad O’Brien, who hosted the show Starting Point on CNN from 2012 to 2013, tweeted the above response to reports of the virtual CNN meeting on Monday
Zucker with his ex-wife Caryn in 2011 (left) and Gollust with her ex-husband Billy Hult (right) in 2008. The pair have known each other and worked together for 20 years, starting at ABC, and media sources say their affair was an ‘open secret’
CNN host Don Lemon (above with Jeff Zucker in December 2016) questioned Kilar, 50, on whether former host Chris Cuomo would get a severance package from CNN
Some have commented that Cuomo’s ouster led to Zucker’s resignation last week.
During Monday’s meeting, Kilar declined to say whether he had requested Zucker’s ‘resignation,’ according to Washington Post reporter Jeremy Barr.
CNN’s media correspondent, Brian Stelter, has said the departure of the network’s boss, Jeff Zucker, has been the ‘ugliest shakeup’ in years.
Speaking on the the Reliable Sources podcast Stelter described how those remaining at the cable news network are said to be ‘confused and angry’ noting that Zucker’s leaving was ‘not what they wanted.’
During the podcast, he explained why he believed Zucker had been forced out, noting that the impending merger between Discovery and CNN’s parent company WarnerMedia is likely behind it.
CNN media correspondent has spoken openly about Jeff Zucker’s departure. Brian Stelter, pictured, described it as the ‘ugliest shakeup’ in years
Stelter explained that both parties want the merger to proceed smoothly, which required Zucker and any controversies surrounding him to be removed. He also noted that Zucker’s leaving would not have happened without the firing last year of anchor Chris Cuomo.
‘This is the ugliest shakeup at CNN since the days Ted Turner was walking the halls,’ Stelter said, speaking of network’s founder.
‘Jeff Zucker’s departure was shocking to the staff at CNN. CNN was not built by just one man, not by only by Ted Turner and it was not led only by Jeff Zucker,’ Stelter said. ‘CNN is so much bigger than any single individual. It is about teams and teams of people, thousands of individuals who make up CNN.
‘We will always have flaws, we will always screw up, we will always have to run corrections, but the people who say we’re lacking journalism, that we’ve become an all-talk channel, that we’ve run off and we’re all opinions all the time, that Jeff Zucker led us astray, those people aren’t watching CNN.’
HBO host Bill Maher has also defended Zucker, saying he doesn’t care about consensual workplace relationships.
Zucker this week resigned under pressure for violating corporate policy by not disclosing the nature of his consensual romance with second-in-command Allison Gollust, his friend and colleague of over 20 years.
HBO host Bill Maher has defended ousted CNN boss Jeff Zucker, saying he doesn’t care about consensual workplace relationships and feels the scandal was overblown
‘In the old days this was called discretion — I’m not going to tell everyone who I’m f***ing,’ said Maher on Friday’s episode of Real Time. ‘Now, I didn’t tell everybody who I’m f***ing, and I’m the bad guy?’
Although HBO is also owned by CNN parent company WarnerMedia, which AT&T is planning to spin out in a merger with Discovery, Maher insisted that he had ‘no dog in this fight.’
‘I don’t want to be on CNN, he can’t do anything for me, I can’t do anything for him,’ Maher said of Zucker.
‘Americans spend all of their time at work, they’re going to f*** each other. It’s perfectly normal,’ added panelist Johann Hari, a British-Swiss author.