Former CNN chief Jeff Zucker’s partner Allison Gollust resigns from the network
Allison Gollust, the chief marketing officer at CNN whose romantic relationship with the network’s former President Jeff Zucker led to his ouster, resigned Tuesday after an internal investigation found that she violated company policies.
Gollust, 49, was expected to exit within the next few months as CNN parent WarnerMedia closed its merger with Discovery.
But WarnerMedia Chief Executive Jason Kilar announced her departure to staff in an email obtained by The Times, saying that Gollust, Zucker and fired CNN host Chris Cuomo had run afoul of company policies, including the network’s journalistic standards and practices.
The email does not disclose any details of the violations by Zucker or Gollust.
Cuomo was fired on Dec. 4 after the release of a report from the office of New York state Atty. Gen. Letitia James showing he was deeply involved in shaping the defense of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo against sexual harassment allegations.
Chris Cuomo also faced sexual assault allegations from a woman who worked with him at ABC News, which he has denied.
Zucker was forced to leave the company on Feb. 2 after outside investigators looking into the Cuomo situation learned that he failed to reveal an ongoing romantic relationship he had with Gollust, who had been a longtime aide and confidant to the executive during his years at NBC and CNN.
Top talent at the cable news network grilled WarnerMedia Chief Executive Jason Kilar over his decision.
But after Zucker departed, rumors continued to bubble that other issues concerned WarnerMedia management.
Members of Chris Cuomo’s camp have said Zucker and Gollust were involved in advising Andrew Cuomo on his public positioning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gollust already had a connection to Andrew Cuomo, having briefly served as his communications director before joining CNN.
Chris Cuomo’s team asserted their roles were no different than what he did in advising his brother on the sexual harassment scandal that drove him out office.
“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,” Kilar said. “I realize this news is troubling, disappointing and frankly painful to read. These are valid feelings that many of you have. We have the highest standards of journalistic integrity and those rules must apply to everyone equally.”
The revelation that Zucker and Gollust violated the network’s news standards and practices is likely to be upsetting to the anchor and reporters who publicly rallied to their former boss’ defense after his firing.
Kilar took heavy fire from CNN journalists in two staff meetings held after Zucker’s firings, which were widely disseminated in the press.
But Gollust issued a statement saying Kilar’s memo was a way to divert attention from the negative attention his decision has received.
“WarnerMedia’s statement tonight is an attempt to retaliate against me and change the media narrative in the wake of their disastrous handling of the last two weeks,” Gollust said. “It is deeply disappointing that after spending the past nine years defending and upholding CNN’s highest standards of journalistic integrity, I would be treated this way as I leave. But I do so with my head held high, knowing that I gave my heart and soul to working with the finest journalists in the world.”
News of Gollust’s exit circulated quickly after the New York Times published a detailed account of her and Zucker’s relationship with the Cuomo brothers and the circumstances that led to Zucker’s resignation.
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