Jeff Zucker resigned as president of CNN after admitting to an affair with a subordinate

For years now, the knives have been out for CNN president Jeff Zucker, for good reason. Zucker’s both-sidesism got us a fascist POTUS who put Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court. Zucker gave endless free publicity and free airtime to Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign and beyond. CNN failed in its duty to be a check on those with power, and under Zucker’s tenure, CNN went from “attempting to be balanced news” to “f–k it, we hate Democrats too.” Still, Zucker survived the Trump years. He only resigned from his position yesterday, because he was caught up in his web of lies about a “consensual relationship” with a subordinate.

Jeff Zucker is resigning from his position as president of CNN Worldwide. Zucker, 56, announced his departure from the role in a staff memo on Wednesday. The media executive explained that the decision for him to resign was made after he failed to disclose a “consensual relationship” with a colleague.

“As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo’s tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years,” the statement read, per CNN. “I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong. As a result, I am resigning today.”

Zucker did not disclose the colleague’s identity in the memo, but the network confirmed his relationship was with chief marketing officer Allison Gollust. She will continue to remain at the company.

“I came to CNN on January 28, 2013. Together we had nine great years,” Zucker continued. “I certainly wish my tenure here had ended differently. But it was an amazing run. And I loved every minute. I am grateful to the thousands of incredibly talented CNN and Turner Sports employees who helped make this such a joy for me, and such a success for all of us. I wish each of you nothing but the best in the years ahead.”

[From People]

According to media gossip, Zucker’s affair with Gollust was an open secret for years. According to Page Six’s sources, CNN staffers are mad that Gollust gets to keep her job after she lied and told everyone that their affair only began during the pandemic. I would imagine – and I don’t know for sure – that there would be a lot of legal liability for CNN if they fired Gollust because she was sleeping with the boss. In my opinion, all she would have to say is that because of power imbalance of their working relationship, she felt like Zucker abused his power and it crossed the line into sexual harassment.

There are, of course, rumors that Zucker’s departure has nothing to do with a sex scandal, that it’s just a good, old-fashioned power struggle involving mergers, Silicon Valley executives and CNN throne drama. Who knows.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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20 Responses to “Jeff Zucker resigned as president of CNN after admitting to an affair with a subordinate”

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  1. Cessily says:

    The rot always begins at the top…

    • Jessica says:

      The girl was an aid to Andrew Cuomo before coming to CNN. She also worked under Chris Cuomo. He got the boot as a bigger part of CNN protecting the Cuomos no matter what.

      • Julia K says:

        If you’re referring to Allison Gollust, she is not a girl, but a 48 year old woman who consented to this relationship. She deserves to take some responsibility as well.

      • Busyann says:

        No one is protecting the Cuomo’s here. In fact, Chris is burning down the house and exposing this network for what it is. Allison seems to have been closely involved with Zucker dating back to his Today Show time in the 90s. He wanted to get her a job on Katie Couric’s ABC show, but Katie declined. Years later she went to work for Andrew Cuomo and left after 4 months to join Zucker at CNN. I read some article about all of this and Katie Couric dropped so many hints about it in her book that I can’t believe this is only coming out right now. If you ask me, all of them are rotten to the core. I’m just happy that Allison did not say that she was harassed or assaulted or whatever. Clearly she was a grown, married woman who made clear choices to engage in this unethical behavior with Zucker. Of course this benefited her professionally and personally as she continues to keep her job. If she had played the harassment card and all of this was an open secret she would ruin the credibility of real assault cases.

  2. Seaflower says:

    There is also some reporting that CNN received letter from Chris Cuomo’s lawyers, demanding, among other things, preservation of all communications between Zucker, comms chief Allison Gollust, and Andrew Cuomo.

    Allison Golust used to be communications director for New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

    The plot thickens.

    • BeyondTheFringe says:

      I definitely think they’re trying to use the relatively simple, ‘sleazy, salacious’ veneer of a good old fashioned work affair to cover up much worse abuse of power amongst the Cuomos, Golust and Zucker.

      Especially since the supposedly long running affair does seem to be an open secret but news of it is breaking as a result of the investigation to Chris Cuomo’s malfeasance.

      There’s definitely more to it.

    • Lili says:

      I had a little chuckle, when i read this, yep the plot thickens, i bet there are others they better resign before they get outted.

      • Seaflower says:

        If it is true, and I have no reason to suspect its not. Chris Cuomo is out for blood.

      • SarahLee says:

        Seaflower, that’s exactly what I’m thinking. Cuomo is a hothead and I can definitely see him deciding to burn it all down on his way out the door. That being said, if CNN hadn’t been the #3 news network, then I’m guessing Zucker would have been such easy pickings.

  3. LibraryDiane says:

    Schadenfreude. It’s what for dinner…and it’s delicious.
    –Conan O’Brien

  4. TIFFANY says:

    Stephen Colbert called him a Human Hot Dog and that is all I see now.

    Yeah, he wasn’t fired for consent. He was fired because CNN is in the toilet and he has created a monster he can no longer control.

    Resignation means money and he will still get his for his silence.

  5. AppleCart says:

    I know this person is problematic for Celebitchy but there is another gossip website. That called this out a month ago in a blind item. That basically said that CC was going to call out his old boss for doing the exact same thing. And it’s comical they are structuring this around this coming out during Chris’ investigation. They knew.

    • TIFFANY says:

      Everyone knew. Instead of ‘journalist ‘ doing their due diligence and investing this dark spot on the profession, they instead kissed the ring for their 15 minutes of fame for a spot on CNN, which is nothing but a 24 hour reality show.

    • It Really Is You, Not Me says:

      CNN is completely in the toilet. I used to go there exclusively for news but stopped after they so screwed up the 2016 election. I remember clear as day Erin Burnett making a comment on air shortly after the election after Trump was spreading misinformation how “Our jobs as journalists have never been more important.” I was disgusted at her self-importance and failure to read the room after CNN was projecting Clinton would win up to election night. That’s the moment CNN lost me – they’re not standing for all liberals but they lost their thread/purpose a long time ago. Maybe this house cleaning will help.

  6. Jess says:

    I read Katie Couric’s book and she talks about how he begged her to help him get the job at CNN, promising he’d bring her in then (which he never did). She also mentions his very close relationship with AG. So yea, everyone knew. But he is a dirtbag who has harmed this country so I’m just glad he was forced out.

  7. molly says:

    He’s gross, Cuomo’s gross, and I hope they all rot, but I do give him a crumb of respect for having a relationship with a woman close to his age and professional level. Yes he got her the job, but you don’t keep a real C-suite job at a billion dollar company without a fair amount of competence.

  8. North of Boston says:

    This illustrates some of the many many reasons workplace managers shouldn’t be seeking out affairs, sexual relationships with their subordinates.

    Given the power imbalance inherent in their roles, it’s questionable how “consensual” any relationship can really be, plus it creates a weird dysfunctional work environment for everyone else at the company… this “open secret” undoubtedly impacted how other people perceived the workplace, did their jobs.

    Then if you have other less senior managers misbehaving, misusing their positions, (CC) the CEO and those who work for him likely aren’t going to pursue the matter as seriously because they are doing the same thing themselves. When ethical, fair, legal guidelines are tossed aside by the top guy, they certainly aren’t going to hold in other parts of the organization.

    Add to that this particular situation where it was a so-called news organization in a position to investigate and report on a powerful man (AC) who was in an executive position also behaving inappropriately with women subordinate to him in his work environment … and it’s no surprise that CNN didn’t chase that story whole heartedly.

  9. Wendy says:

    This is is a smokescreen for something else – two consenting adults dating isn’t fire someone this instant scandal. They worked together 20+years so I don’t see coercion.
    CNN is getting ahead of something.

    • J says:

      Chump Lady has a new blog post up with more details from Kouric about this. Sounds like they were “dating” for years before this — while married and without spouse’s consent. He even moved her and former husband into apartment above them! Incredible.

  10. Wendy says:

    And … anyone still going to CNN for news should also know better .