Shelley Ross says Cuomo hugged her at a company party to ”squeeze the cheek of my buttock“
Former top ABC news producer Shelley Ross on Friday accused CNN’s Chris Cuomo of sexual harassment in an op-ed published by the New York Times.
“At the time, I was the executive producer of an ABC entertainment special, but I was Mr. Cuomo’s executive producer at ‘Primetime Live’ just before that. I was at the party with my husband, who sat behind me on an ottoman sipping his Diet Coke as I spoke with work friends. When Mr. Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, he walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock,” she recalled of a party 16 years ago.
Cuomo, she said, told her he could do that now that she was no longer his boss, but she pushed him back and told him he couldn’t. Later, she wrote, he sent her an email. She included a screenshot of the email in the piece.
“now that i think of it…i am ashamed…” said the subject of the email, which went on, “though my hearty greeting was a function of being glad to see you… christian slater got arrested for a (kind of) similar act (though borne of an alleged negative intent, unlike my own)…and as a husband i can empathize with not liking to see my wife patted as such… so pass along my apology to your very good and noble husband…and i apologize to you as well, for even putting you in such a position… net time, i will remember the lesson, no matter how happy i am to see you…”
Ross noted in her op-ed that Cuomo, a former lawyer, seemed to her to be covering himself legally with the email by differentiating himself from Christian Slater, who was charged for groping a woman on the street. The charges were dropped.
Cuomo issued a statement to the Times Thursday: “As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature. It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it.”
A representative for Cuomo did not immediately return a request for further comment to TheWrap Friday morning.
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