Chris Cuomo on working through 'the hurt and embarrassment' of CNN firing in therapy

CNN television news anchor Chris Cuomo poses as he arrives at the WarnerMedia Upfront event in New York City, New York, U.S., May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Chris Cuomo talks about being axed by CNN. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Chris Cuomo says his 2021 firing from CNN "knocked me sideways."

The TV news anchor, who now hosts the NewsNation show Cuomo, appeared on Anthony Scaramucci's podcast Open Book and discussed his headline-making axing after it was discovered the extent to which he advised his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, amid his sexual misconduct scandal. The younger Cuomo credited therapy for helping him work through it, and said he'll be seeing through his $125 million arbitration demand from CNN.

"This really knocked me sideways," he admitted. "One of the things I like to say — maybe too much — is how damaging this was to me personally. And I know that a lot of people don't give a s***. That's OK. I'm not saying it because I care what you think. I'm saying it because it's true."

He said he had to sort through "the pain and the hurt and the embarrassment and the shame and the fear" with his therapist.

Cuomo admitted, "I make a lot of mistakes. Sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for bad reason. I'm very flawed. There's damage. There's damage that's relatable to people. There's damage that's unrelatable to people that I have to deal with. That I try to deal with. That I do the work on. I still fail. And I have learned to accept it. I had to accept because I was gonna kill everybody, including myself. Things can consume you... I really had to fight against that because ... I got too many people counting on me."

The father of three referred to his firing from the network, after an initial suspension, as being "s***-canned" during the interview. He said what he's learned is that, "When things are good, stop and smell the roses [because eventually] you will step in s***. You will." He said "bad things are going to come [up] and it's up to you how you handle them."

He added, "If you want to be in [the] public [eye and] want to take swings, you got to be ready to deal with how it is when you get hit."

Cuomo also talked about how he predicted his brother's fall from grace. The governor resigned in August 2021 amid sexual harassment allegations. He recalled telling him — as his star rose amid the COVID pandemic only for it to cosmically burst amid scandal — what goes up must come down.

"It was always a clock ticking," he said. "I saw what was gonna happening and I was worried about him personally."

He added, "The media builds up and tears down... It is great to see a big name go down."

Cuomo talked about the audience of his new NewsNation show being "small" and how that differs from having the No. 1 CNN show. He called it "kind of embarrassing."

He also spoke about his arbitration filing against CNN for $125 million over his "unlawful termination."

"I believe that [my CNN job] was taken. I believe wrongly," he said. "I will litigate that. I am not going to bitch about it in the press. I'm not going to badmouth CNN because I love the people there and I wish 'em well and it's, I believe, the best news organization in the world. But I don't like how I was fired. I'll litigate that. That's arbitration and I'm seeing that through."

He also talked about how he's suing over the book he was writing, Deep Denial, being scrapped by William Morrow imprint Custom House amid his CNN firing.

"My publisher went sideways with me because I got fired [from CNN] and now I'm in litigation there trying to figure this out because it's unacceptable," he said.