Katie Couric Insists Many Ignored ‘Inappropriate Behavior’ At CNN After Jeff Zucker Resigns

Katie Couric, who previously worked with both Jeff Zucker and Allison Gollust, said the 'nature of their relationship' made her 'uncomfortable.'

Katie Couric
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Image Credit: MediaPunch/Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

UPDATE 2/15/2022: Allison Gollust is stepping down from her position as Chief Marketing Officer for CNN, the network announced on Feb. 15. Jason Kilar, the CEO of the network’s parent company WarnerMedia, made the announcement of Allison’s resignation in a memo to the staff.

“Earlier today, Allison Gollust resigned from CNN following the conclusion of the Company’s investigation into issues associated with Chris Cuomo and former Governor Andrew Cuomo,” the memo read. “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, by Jeff Zucker, Allison Gollust and Chris Cuomo.”

Jason went on to say that the “comprehensive and definitive” investigation was “performed by a third-party law firm and led by a former federal judge” beginning in Sept. 2021 and concluding this weekend.

“I realize this news is troubling, disappointing, and frankly, painful to read. These are valid feelings many of you have,” Jason continued to write. “We have the highest standards of journalistic integrity at CNN, and those rules must apply to everyone equally.”

He also noted that he believed “we have taken the right actions” and requested that all employees “commit to the vital mission we share and the values that define us.”

Shortly after her resignation was announced, Allison gave a statement to PEOPLE and called WarnerMedia’s statement “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,” she continued. “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.”

ORIGINAL:

Katie Couric is speaking out after her former producer, Jeff Zucker, resigned as the president of CNN Worldwide. Zucker, who held the position for nine years, announced he was stepping down on Wednesday (February 2) for not disclosing his relationship with CNN colleague, Allison Gollust. The next day, Couric shared a statement through Katie Couric Media, saying many in the industry “turned a blind eye to inappropriate behavior” between the Zucker and Gollust.

Katie Couric
Katie Couric spoke out after her former producer Jeff Zucker resigned from CNN over an undisclosed relationship with a colleague. (MediaPunch/Shutterstock)

“I worked with Jeff Zucker for many years at NBC and later on my talk show. He was a talented and energetic producer,” Couric’s statement read. “I’ve also known Allison Gollust since my days at the TODAY show. I’ve wondered about the nature of their relationship, but I do know, as I wrote in my memoir Going There, that it made me uncomfortable. It seems their colleagues and the media at large turned a blind eye to inappropriate behavior.”

In her October 2021 memoir, Going There, Couric went into detail how Zucker, after he was appointed executive producer of her daytime talk show Katie, pushed for Gollust to oversee publicity on the show.  “They were joined at the hip,” Couric wrote. “The problem was, we’d already hired a PR person for the show. Jeff asked me to meet with her anyway.” Couric said she questioned Zucker’s motives at the time. “[Allison] and her husband and kids had moved into the apartment right above Jeff and Caryn’s [Zucker’s now ex-wife] — everyone who heard about the cozy arrangement thought it was super-strange. By that point, Caryn had become a close friend and it made me really uncomfortable.”

Jeff Zucker
Jeff Zucker said he resigned for not disclosing his relationship with CNN colleague, Allison Gollust. (Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock)

Zucker’s memo to CNN employees regarding his resignation said the decision came following the investigation into CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who was accused of aiding his brother Andrew Cuomo with his sexual misconduct defense. “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,” Zucker wrote. “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.”

In a separate memo to employees, Gollust admitted her involvement. “Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years,” she wrote. “Recently, our relationship changed during COVID. I regret that we didn’t disclose it at the right time. I’m incredibly proud of my time at CNN and look forward to continuing the great work we do everyday.”

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