Chris Cuomo’s strangest moments
Chris Cuomo was once considered by some as the safest pair of hands on American news television. The Yale and Fordham University graduate became one of the youngest ever News Emmy winners with his profile on young poet Mattie Stepanek, covered everything from the war on terrorism and school shootings to the Sago Mine collapse and Hurricane Katrina during his anchorman stint on Good Morning America, and is one of the few names to have graced the desks of both Fox News and CNN. Throw in several eponymous shows (Cuomo Prime Time, Inside with Chris Cuomo), a picture-perfect marriage to magazine editor Cristina Greeven and even — according to The New York Times — a place on People‘s Sexiest Man Alive poll. Simply put, the journalist seemed to have it all made.
However, in recent years Cuomo has found himself creating headlines, rather than just reporting on them, thanks to a series of incidents which have threatened to bring his famous family name into disrepute. Indeed, from barroom fights to on-air meltdowns, the son of former New York Governor and First Lady Mario and Matilda Cuomo has never been too far from controversy during his latter-day career. Here’s a closer look at the occasions in which the newsroom regular has showcased his increasingly eccentric persona.
He made some questionable remarks during his interview with Amanda Knox
“Were you into deviant sex?” “Knox is into some freaky sexual things!” These are just a couple of the questionable remarks Chris Cuomo made during his CNN interview with Amanda Knox in 2013. The journalist was chatting to Knox two years after her conviction for murdering her roommate Meredith Kercher in Italy had first been overturned. But he seemed far more interested in her bedroom habits than the case.
Unsurprisingly, social media wasn’t particularly enamored with Cuomo’s line of questioning, with Gawker citing “a**hole” and “jerk” as some of the lesser offensive terms bandied about as a result. Nevertheless, the anchorman remained entirely unrepentant for treating Knox’s controversial life story like a Cosmopolitan sex survey.
“If you want to get involved in controversy and if you want to be involved with news cycles, you can’t be shy,” Cuomo told Daily News. “Controversy invites passion and big opinions. Amanda Knox is a hugely volatile case; that’s why it’s been covered the way it has been.” According to HuffPost, the newsman also later claimed to Zap2It that the woman dubbed Foxy Knoxy had thanked him after the interview wrapped. And in a tweet which proves Cuomo isn’t averse to text speak, he added, “It wasn’t ez to see and Amanda deal with some of what is put against her but I feel she answered everything well and she wan’t [sic] given a pass.”
He crashed his car in an illegal drag race
In 2016, Page Six reported that Chris Cuomo had been involved in an illegal drag race, and not the kind you’d associate with RuPaul. Yes, the CNN anchor appeared to have indulged in a Fast and Furious-style fantasy (the original, of course, not the increasingly ludicrous sequels) after leaving a party staged by his magazine editor wife Cristina in Southampton.
While Cuomo’s friend got behind the wheel of his 1967 Pontiac LeMans, the newsman revved up the engine of his beloved 1969 Pontiac Firebird. The only problem was that Cuomo had allegedly spent most of the night drinking, and so, perhaps inevitably, he crashed his classic convertible straight into a stationary Mercedes SUV.
Yet the story differs depending on who you speak to. One witness claims that Cuomo had simply lost control after waving the remaining partygoers goodbye. Another argued that he’d just stepped foot on the gas a little too hard. But there are also incriminating photos in which a woman appears to be signaling a race by raising her arms high in the pose of a starter girl. Whatever happened, the police report filed doesn’t mention alcohol or drag racing. And so the CNN star, who’s never officially commented on the incident, appeared to have got away with any potential wrongdoing.
He once threatened to throw a heckler down the stairs
Once Chris Cuomo gets angry, he gets very, very angry, indeed. According to GQ, while visiting Shelter Island with his wife and daughter one evening in August 2019, the anchorman threatened to throw a heckler down the stairs. So what did the man in question say to make the typically composed Cuomo so irate? Well, he called him “Fredo.” For those of you who don’t know, this is the name of the “weak brother” character in Francis Ford Coppola’s epic crime movies, The Godfather, and more notably, The Godfather II.
A video of the incident leaked on Twitter, which also shows the pair standing face to face as Cuomo launches into a tirade of smackdowns in the manner of a foul-mouthed WWE wrestler. “I’ll f***ing ruin your s**t,” “I’ll f***ing throw you down the stairs,” and “No punk a** b***hes from the right call me Fredo,” are just a few of the zingers the star can be heard delivering.
Cuomo addressed all the drama in a tweet several days later: “Appreciate all the support but — truth is I should be better than the guys baiting me. This happens all the time these days. Often in front of my family. But there is a lesson: no need to add to the ugliness; I should be better than what I oppose.” Donald Trump, who Cuomo has regularly opposed, then waded in by tweeting, “I thought Chris was Fredo also. The truth hurts. Totally lost it! Low ratings.”
He compares 'Fredo' to the N-word
One particular comment Chris Cuomo made during his near-brawl in Shelter Island got everyone talking. While squaring up to his heckler, the journalist asked if anyone surrounding the pair was of Italian-American origin. He then claimed that the term ‘Fredo’ that had been directed toward him was, “f***ing insult to [my] people. It’s like the N-word to us.”
After the video went viral, many people took umbrage with this comparison. Vox‘s Alissa Wilkinson argued, “One is a degrading slur meant to dehumanize the target; the other is a metaphor with unflattering connotations: that the target bears a similarity to a character infamous for his lack of integrity.” However, the anchorman was defended by Matt Dornic, a CNN spokesman, who tweeted, “Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him.”
This wasn’t the first time that Cuomo had drawn parallels with the N-word and a term he personally found offensive. Two years previously, he got into trouble after describing accusations of “fake news” as the journalist’s equivalent of the N-word on Sirius XM POTUS. However, on this occasion, the newsman apologized for his remarks, tweeting, “I was wrong. Calling a journalist fake — nothing compared to the pain of a racial slur. I should not have said it.”
He made a misjudged pronouns joke at an LGBTQ event
Chris Cuomo has landed his own shows on ABC, CNN, HLN, and Sirius XM during his glittering news career but don’t expect him to bag a series on Comedy Central any time soon. The journalist’s attempt at humor at a Los Angeles LGBTQ town hall event in 2019 (via AP) went down like a lead balloon with the audience. Indeed, never has the term “know your crowd” been more appropriate.
Cuomo was appearing on stage alongside Kamala Harris when the senator announced (via Washington Examiner), “My pronouns are she/her/hers.” Without appearing to think much about his words, the newsman then butted in, “Mine too,” in a manner which many felt was in a mocking tone. Harris certainly didn’t seem impressed, responding, “Alright.” And the National Center for Lesbian Rights was downright livid, tweeting, “People’s pronouns are not a punchline. In a year where LGBTQ Americans are finally being recognized on the national presidential stage, making jokes about gender pronouns is beneath your dignity.”
Having learned that his remark had caused offense, Cuomo quickly took to Twitter to say sorry for his misjudged quip. He posted, “PLEASE READ: When Sen. Harris said her pronouns were she her and her’s, I said mine too. I should not have. I apologize. I am an ally of the LGBTQ community, and I am sorry because I am committed to helping us achieve equality. Thank you for watching our townhall.”
He recalled a coronavirus dream about his brother
Chris Cuomo is no stranger to sharing the screen with his New York Governor older brother. In fact, the pair have developed quite the double act over the years. But things got a little strange between the two when one of Andrew Cuomo’s press briefings — screened on CNN — about the coronavirus was gatecrashed by his sibling, who was in the midst of recovering from COVID-19 at the time.
Indeed, from the relative safety of his own basement, Chris began recalling the vivid dream he had about involving the governor. And whereas other people’s dreams are not usually considered riveting subject matter, this particular one conjured up some quite startling mental images. Chris said, “You had on a very interesting ballet outfit, and you were dancing in the dream, and you were waving a wand and saying, ‘I wish I could wave my wand and make this go away.’ And then you spun around, and you danced away.”
A slightly bewildered Andrew responded that the dream had a “lot of metaphoric reality.” Perhaps echoing what many of those watching the conference at home were thinking, the governor then added, “I thank you for sharing that with us, that was kind of you. Obviously, the fever has affected your mental capacity.”
He threatened to 'beat the crap' out of a senior citizen
Chris Cuomo sure didn’t take kindly to a Long Island local asking about his quarantine status during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an interview with New York Post, then-65-year-old David Whelan revealed that he’d confronted the newsman after spotting him outside to ask him why he wasn’t adhering to social distance guidelines, particularly considering his brother is the ‘coronavirus czar.’ Cuomo then allegedly replied, “Who the hell are you?! I can do what I want!”
Cuomo didn’t end things there, either. He allegedly told Whelan, “This is not the end of this. You’ll deal with this later. We will meet again.” As reported by New York Post, the journalist himself had previously discussed the matter on his Sirius XM show, telling listeners, “I don’t want some jacka**, loser, fat-tire biker being able to pull over and get in my space and talk bulls**t to me, I don’t want to hear it.”
The man that Cuomo so politely described later filed a complaint to the police about the verbal dispute. In an official statement that Independent obtained, Whelan argues that the star threatened to “beat the crap out of him.” Cuomo had previously claimed to have been self-quarantining at the time of the incident having tested positive for COVID-19.
He claims to hate his job live on air
Chris Cuomo certainly appeared to have the Monday blues in the second week of April 2020. On the very same show that he launched into a diatribe against the “jacka**, loser, fat-tire biker” who dared question his quarantining habits, the anchorman had another mini-meltdown live on air. This time around, the cause of his despair was the news station paying him a multi-million dollar salary.
On the offending episode of Let’s Get After It with Chris Cuomo on Sirius XM, the newsman suddenly appeared to be in desperate need of career counseling. The Daily Mail reports that he told listeners, “I don’t like what I do professionally. I don’t think it’s worth my time. I don’t think it’s worth it to me because I don’t think I mean enough, I don’t think I matter enough, I don’t think I can really change anything, so then what am I really doing?”
A day later and Cuomo used the old argument that his comments had been taken out of context. Variety reports that while presenting his show, he stated, “I was talking about having legitimate questions, which I’ve had all along this administration. Let alone, with a fever with COVID for two weeks and being p***ed off about being sick and rethinking a lot of things on an existential basis all the time.” Whereas CNN representatives had previously defended Cuomo’s outbursts, on this occasion, they were notably silent.
He was mocked for staging a post-COVID-19 family reunion
Chris Cuomo sure knows how to wring the drama out of a situation. After apparently being holed up in his basement for three weeks while recovering from COVID-19, the journalist was all-too-happy to see daylight again. He even posted a video on Instagram to show how he ‘reunited’ with the rest of his family at their mansion in the Hamptons. “This is the dream,” he stated after walking up the stairs from his temporary base. “Just to be back up here doing normal things.”
However, Cuomo’s relief at entering civilization didn’t ring true for some who viewed the clip. Jerry Dunleavy, a reporter for the DC Examiner, tweeted, “What sort of gaslighting is this? Chris Cuomo didn’t just emerge from a basement quarantine — I mean, the guy got in a well-publicized fight with a biker outside of his second home in the Hamptons on Easter. This is… pretty shameless stuff by CNN.”
Furthermore, CNN’s statement (via The New York Times) about this alleged fight also proved that Cuomo had left the basement during his three-week quarantine spell. It read, “‘Chris was following all social distancing guidelines and wearing a mask in his own backyard with his immediate family members. A complete stranger approached them from their own private driveway, in order to curse at Chris in front of his wife and children.”
He admits bias toward his brother
Journalists are taught to be impartial, but that’s not always easy when one of the men regularly making the news just happens to be your older brother. That’s the situation that has faced Chris Cuomo throughout his career, with sibling Andrew Cuomo being the Governor of New York and all. But the star freely admits he doesn’t even try to be objective when it comes to family matters.
During an interview on CNN (via Washington Examiner) in June 2020 about the coronavirus pandemic, Chris told Andrew, “Obviously, I love you as a brother. Obviously, I’ll never be objective. Obviously, I think you’re the best politician in the country. But I hope you feel good about what you did for your people because I know they appreciate it. Nothing’s perfect. You’ll have your critics. But I’ve never seen anything like what you did, and that’s why I’m so happy to have had you on the show.” If that wasn’t enough, the anchorman also claimed that their father would have been proud of Andrew’s handling of the outbreak and later took to Twitter to pay further tribute.
Andrew was also in a complimentary mood on CNN, telling Chris, “I did what was right, and you do what is right. You tell the truth. You get up every night, and you tell the truth whether they like it or not. This is the truth the way you see it. And that’s all you can do.”
He gatecrashes his daughter's TikTok videos
TikTok may be considered a young person’s game. But that hasn’t stopped fifty-something Chris Cuomo from making a few surprise appearances on the app that’s taken over the entire world. Indeed, the newsman has popped up on teenage daughter Bella’s account on several occasions, and often in muscle-flexing mode.
In one clip, the CNN favorite interrupts Bella dancing along to Kendrick Lamar’s hip-hop anthem “Money Trees” by standing behind her and showing off his guns. In another clip captioned, “Me trying to say goodnight to my parents during their 20-step night routine,” Bella walks into the bathroom where a shirtless Chris is flossing, and wife Cristina is applying eye cream. The pair barely bat an eyelid and simply continue with their pre-bedtime habits, much to Bella’s amusement.
Some older viewers were impressed at how in shape Bella’s father was, and in an interview with ET, the teen admitted she finds such comments strange. “It’s kind of weird to open TikTok up and see people calling my family members hot. Like, that’s a weird experience.” Indeed, Chris isn’t the only older member of the Cuomo family who’s gained unlikely sex symbol status. Bella’s uncle and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo became the subject of much online thirsting during the coronavirus outbreak, too.
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