Jeff Zucker, the former president of CNN who resigned this month after his secret affair with co-worker Allison Gollust was revealed, broke his silence to say Gollust is doing ‘fine’ after she was pushed out on Tuesday.
‘She’s good. She’s fine,’ Zucker, 56, said after he was spotted having breakfast at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Zucker – dressed in jeans, sneakers and a gray pullover – was seated with Dick Ebersol, the former president of NBC sports, according to a reporter from The Ankler who stopped at his table for a quick chat.
The defanged media titan refused to elaborate on the scandal that has engulfed his former network, only giving a clipped reply when asked how we was doing.
‘All good,’ he said.
Gollust, 49, was spotted in New York City for the first time on Wednesday since resigning as CNN’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer after an internal probe revealed she, Zucker and former anchor Chris Cuomo all violated company policies and unethically aided former Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Jeff Zucker, 56, the former president of CNN, broke his silence to say Allison Gollust, the coworker he had an affair with that led his firing, was doing ‘fine’
Allison Gollust was seen entering her Upper East Side apartment alone Wednesday night after her public resignation on Tuesday
Gollust still lives in the same apartment building where she and her lover Jeff Zucker lived with their respective families
spotted Zucker making a hasty foray into Midtown Manhattan to pick up some pizza on Friday afternoon. The former CNN president has remained relatively quite
The former top executive was seen returning to her Upper East Side apartment as she kept her head down as she attempted to ignore the reporters outside her uptown building.
Gollust was seen sporting a gray coat with a fur trim over a black top and black slacks.
She made her way up the front steps in her black Louboutin stiletto heels entering the building where she and Zucker both used to live, one floor apart, with their respective families.
Gollust entered her building alone on Wednesday nearly 24 hours since the news of her CNN departure broke.
Gollust’s resignation was announced by CNN a few days after Zucker resigned citing their inappropriate open-secret relationship. She quickly lashed out at the network’s ‘disastrous handling’ of the situation involving the recently ousted trio.
Gollust left the network following a third-party investigation into ‘issues associated with Chris Cuomo and Andrew Cuomo,’ WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said in a statement.
The 49-year-old tried to ignore the reporters outside her apartment building as she kept her head down
Gollust was seen nearly 24 hours after her resignation made headlines as she lashed out at CNN’s parent company
Initial reports indicated that Chris Cuomo was fired for using his media influence to help coach his brother, former Governor Andrew Cuomo, through sexual assault allegations. On Tuesday, shortly after it was learned that Gollust resigned, it was revealed that Chris was facing an allegation of sexual assault from when he worked at ABC News in 2011.
Over the weekend, the investigation, which began in September, concluded that Gollust, Zucker and Chris Cuomo violated company policies including Standards and Practices, Kilar shared. ‘Based on interviews of more than 40 individuals and a review of over 100,000 texts and emails.’
‘I realize this news is troubling, disappointing, and frankly, painful to read. These are valid feelings many of you have,’ Kilar noted.
Gollust acknowledged her exit in a bitter email to her staff claiming that CNN was trying to undermine her in public.
‘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.
‘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 I gave my heart and soul to working with the finest journalists in the world.’
‘With much love and gratitude,’ Gollust signed her goodbye message to her colleagues.
Gollust was spotted on Friday evening at her Upper East Side apartment. She confirmed her and Jeff Zucker’s relationship in a statement released to The New York Times earlier this month when the news of their relationship and Zucker’s exit broke
The embattled media executive made a quick foray into town Friday afternoon to pick up a pizza before getting picked up by a car and returning straight home
Dressed in a black puffer jacket and jeans, the former media executive appeared to be at pains to go unnoticed as he was driven from his address to the restaurant in a black SUV
Chris Cuomo also released a statement in response to Gollust’s resignation with no mention of the sexual assault allegation. ‘It is clear this was never about an undisclosed relationship. As Mr. Cuomo has stated previously, Mr. Zucker and Ms. Gollust were not only entirely aware but fully supportive of what he was doing to help his brother,’ his team told the Wall Street Journal.
‘The still open question is when Warner Media is going to release the results of its investigation and explain its supposed basis for terminating Mr. Cuomo.’
Earlier this month, Zucker announced he was leaving his $6-million-a-year post at CNN for violating corporate policy by not disclosing the nature of his consensual relationship with Gollust, but he was reportedly given no choice by Kilar, who characterized the change as his decision.
Gollust and Zucker’s relationship was reportedly uncovered during an internal probe into alleged inappropriate relationships after Chris Cuomo was fired from the network in December.
CNN became involved after it was found that anchor Chris Cuomo used his own influence in the media to help his brother, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo, tackle issues including the sexual assault allegations that led to the end of his reign.
Chris Cuomo (right) was fired from CNN at the end of last year for reportedly using his influence to help his brother former-Governor Andrew Cuomo (left) navigate sexual assault allegations
It has since been revealed that Chris Cuomo was fired after a secret ‘assault’ allegation made against him by an unnamed woman he ‘badgered for sex’ during his time at ABC News, in 2011.
He also allegedly aired a flattering segment on his show about the company she did PR for at the time during MeToo to try and ‘to buy her silence,’ The New York Times reported Tuesday night.
Before their hurried exits, Gollust and Zucker had worked together for 20 years. The pair claims their relationship turned romantic during the pandemic but others say it far predates COVID, and was common knowledge for as many as 10 years.
Former CNN employees have suggested that Zucker’s relationship with Gollust had been an ‘open secret’ for nearly a decade.
The pair were spotted at a Billy Joel concert last November, where they were called out for defying mask regulations. Don Lemon could also be seen during the concert standing in the row behind.
Sources have said the romantic relationship was so widely known, even the doormen at the Manhattan apartment building where they both lived with their separate families tried to keep Gollust and Zucker’s ex-wife, Caryn, from interacting.
‘Zucker would disappear for hours on end, but Caryn initially had no idea that the woman she was being polite to in the elevator was sleeping with her [then] husband,’ an unnamed source told the New York Post.
They added: ‘Everyone in the building knew about it -even the doormen tried to ensure Caryn wasn’t in the elevator at the same time as Allison.’
After the news broke last week, CNN host Alisyn Camerota defended Zucker and Gollust, saying there was nothing wrong with their relationship because they are both ‘executives’.
Zucker and Gollust lived in the same apartment building on the Upper East Side with their respective families until Jeff sold his in 2020, after he and his ex-wife Caryn Nathanson split.
The building is located at on the corner of Madison Avenue in Manhattan, New York. He resided in apartment 3W, while Allison lived in the unit right above him – number 4W – which she still owns.
In her memoir, Going There, Katie Couric later claimed that their ‘cozy arrangement’ was ‘super strange’ and made her ‘really uncomfortable.’ She said in her book: ‘[Allison] and her husband and kids had moved into the apartment right above Jeff and [his wife] Caryn’s – everyone who heard about their cozy arrangement thought it was super strange.
‘By that point, Caryn had become a close friend and it made me really uncomfortable.’
The couple’s relationship has been revealed to have been an open secret for nearly half of the 20 years the two worked together despite their claims that the relationship turned romantic during COVID (Pictured: Zucker, bottom left, was seen maskless at a Billy Joel concert with Gollust, bottom right, and Don Lemon, top right, in November)
Zucker and Gollust (pictured in 2019) also allegedly ignored journalistic ethics and helped former Governor Andrew Cuomo through one-to-one media coaching giving him ‘talking points’ and pushing him to appear on their network
Zucker was married to Caryn Nathanson in 1996, after they met while working together at NBC. Gollust was married to William Hult, with whom she shares two daughters. Both couples are now divorced, and sources say their relationship was one of the main reasons for the separations
Allison’s apartment has two bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, while Jeff’s contained five bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms. He sold it for $15.4 million. Both of them also own Hampton houses within 20 minutes from one another.
According to public sales records, Jeff’s home hasn’t been put up for sale since he purchased it in 1999 – however it’s not known whether he or his wife took ownership of it in the divorce. Records also show that Allison still owners her Hampton home.
‘The contention that Zucker’s romantic relationship with Gollust “evolved” during the COVID pandemic is absurd,’ an unnamed source told the the New York Post. ‘They carried out the affair for years while the two occupied separate apartments at 32 E. 64th Street.
‘Zucker would get on the elevator and visit Gollust when the coast was clear. They didn’t even have to leave their building it was a perfect cover.’
TIMELINE OF ZUCKER AND GOLLUST’S OPEN SECRET’ ROMANCE
1986: Zucker hired as an Olympics researcher for NBC
1989: Zucker starts working as producer on Today
1996: Zucker marries his NBC colleague Caryn
2000: Zucker promoted to president of entertainment at NBC after boosting ratings on Today
He meets Gollust at NBC.
2003: Zucker promoted to head of news, cable and entertainment at NBC
2005: Zucker becomes head of NBC Universal, new umbrella brand
2007: Zucker becomes President and CEO of NBC Universal
2010: Zucker leaves NBC, taking a package of between $30m-$40m dollars
2011: Zucker joins Katie Couric as producer on her ABC show
2012: Zucker joins CNN
2018: Zucker and his wife Caryn split
2021: Zucker announces plans to leave the company at the end of the year. He then said he would stay on until TimeWarner’s deal with Discovery was complete
Their relationship reportedly stretches back to when they both worked at NBC in the late 1990s. Zucker worked at the network from 1986 to 2010, becoming executive producer of the Today show, then head of NBC Entertainment before becoming president and CEO of NBC Universal.
He met Caryn while they were both working at NBC, when he was the executive producer of the Today Show and she was working at Saturday Night Live. The two were married in 1996, and have four kids.
Gollust, meanwhile, started at NBC in 1996 when she was working as a publicist for Today.
She was married to William Hult, and they had two daughters. According to RadarOnline, they broke up 12 months after Jeff and Caryn finalized their divorce.
An insider told : ‘It was part of the reason for his divorce, but not the only reason. It was inevitable that it would come out – he should have been up front sooner.’
The pair would often take vacations together, went apartment hunting and would sneak into each other’s hotel rooms for alleged ‘meetings,’ according to the Post.
Many have also pointed out that the pair were often seen out in public together – even as Gollust continued to deny they were in a relationship and would brand comments tot he contrary as ‘sexist’ and ‘offensive.’
In 2012, Gollust was picked by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo to serve as his communications director, before Zucker brought her into work at CNN, where he became president in 2013. She eventually became executive vice president of corporate communications at the network, working directly with Zucker.
Utilizing her connections from her time in the Governor’s office, Gollust was reportedly ‘instrumental’ in having the Cuomo brothers appear on the network during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020.
Together with Zucker, she lobbied Andrew Cuomo to appear on their network, violating company policy and calling into question their own condemnation of Chris Cuomo’s actions.
The pair contacted the then-governor of New York directly to try and convince him to appear on his brother Chris Cuomo’s show during the pandemic, despite the brotherly interviews breaching journalistic protocols.
When Andrew Cuomo’s team declined, they would make direct appeals.
Sources also say that Chris Cuomo was planning to come forward with a lawsuit that would have detailed how Zucker and Andrew Cuomo had a far deeper relationship than had ever previously been explained.
One allegation suggests the disgraced governor received one-to-one media coaching for his popular pandemic press conferences from Zucker and Gollust.
Gollust and Zucker reportedly advised the former governor on how to handle the COVID crisis and even gave him ‘talking points’ on how to spar with then-President Donald Trump.
CNN also devoted over an hour of uninterrupted airtime to Andrew Cuomo’s daily, televised press briefings throughout the pandemic. The stardom won Andrew Cuomo an Emmy and an army of fans who begged him to run for President.
Chris Cuomo is still fighting for the $18 million he claims he is owed on the remainder of his contract, which Zucker firmly refused after the termination, arguing that he brought the network into disrepute.
Chris Cuomo (pictured giving testimony from AG investigation into his brother Andrew) was reportedly fired from CNN after a secret ‘assault’ allegation was made against him by a woman he allegedly ‘badgered for sex’ when he worked at ABC News. It was initially reported that he was fired for using his media influence to help his brother then-Governor Andrew Cuomo navigate scandals
Chris has commented on Gollust’s exit but did not respond to the sexual assault allegations made against him (Pictured: Chris, right, with his wife Cristina, left, who he married in 2001)
The NYTimes have reported that a lawyer representing a woman who had worked with Cuomo years earlier at ABC News claimed the anchor had sexually assaulted her in 2011, but that years later, in the heat of the #MeToo movement, the CNN network host attempted to keep her quiet by arranging a flattering CNN segment about her employer at the time. It’s unclear when the segment would have aired.
The unnamed woman is represented by Debra S. Katz and referred to as ‘Jane Doe,’ who was a young temp at ABC who was hoping for a full-time job at the time, The Times reported.
The woman did not wish to be identified and has requested privacy, said Katz, adding that she is ‘deeply traumatized’ and doesn’t want to become ‘a pawn in an internecine war between [former network president Jeff] Zucker, Chris Cuomo and CNN.’
The letter relays an encounter between Cuomo and Jane Doe. He had reportedly offered Jane Doe career advice and invited her to lunch in his office, according to the letter, The Times’ interviews and emails between Jane Doe and Cuomo.
When she arrived for lunch, there was no food and Cuomo allegedly badgered her for sex. After she declined, he assaulted her, she said, according to the letter, and she then ran out of the room.
A spokesman for Cuomo denied the allegations outlined in the letter.
On the same day as the encounter, the unnamed woman reportedly sent friendly emails and tried to smooth things over with Cuomo.
Years later, during the MeToo movement, Cuomo allegedly proposed arranging a CNN segment about the company where Jane Doe then worked doing public relations. Although she avoided contact with Cuomo, the network ran the segment.
‘After years without any substantive communication from Mr. Cuomo whatsoever, Ms. Doe suspected he was concerned about her coming forward publicly with her allegations and wanted to use the proposed segment as an opportunity to ”test the waters” and discourage her from going on the record about his sexual misconduct,’ Katz wrote in the letter.