Veteran broadcast journalist Katie Couric didn’t hold back Thursday when sharing her thoughts about former CNN President Jeff Zucker’s recent resignation from the news network.
Couric, who previously worked with Zucker at NBC and her short-lived talk show, accused the media industry of ignoring “inappropriate behavior” between Zucker and CNN chief marketing officer Allison Gollust.
Zucker cited his failure to disclose “a consensual relationship with my closest colleague,” Gollust, as the reason for his sudden departure.
Zucker “was a talented and energetic producer,” Couric wrote in her “Wake-Up Call” newsletter Thursday. “His resignation took me by surprise. I’ve also known Allison Gollust since my days at the TODAY show.”
CNN President Jeff Zucker says he failed to disclose a relationship with another executive that was revealed during an inquiry into Chris Cuomo.
“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,” she added. “It seems their colleagues and the media at large turned a blind eye to inappropriate behavior.”
The former “Today” show anchor revealed in her 2021 memoir that Zucker “made a huge push” to hire Gollust to oversee public relations for her eponymous daytime talk series.
“They were joined at the hip,” Couric wrote of Zucker and Gollust. “The problem was, we’d already hired a PR person for the show. Jeff asked me to meet with her anyway.”
According to his exit announcement, Zucker was required to acknowledge that his relationship with Gollust had “evolved in recent years” during an investigation into journalist Chris Cuomo — who was fired from CNN last year for helping his brother Andrew Cuomo deal with sexual harassment allegations.
“I had to wonder why Jeff was angling so hard to bring Allison on board,” Couric continued in her memoir.
“She and her husband and kids had moved into the apartment right above Jeff and [his then-wife] Caryn’s — 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.”
The TV news star’s memoir, ‘Going There,’ is fearlessly, wildly entertaining, often emotional and sure to upend the idea that she wants your love.
Upon stepping down Wednesday as the head of CNN, Zucker admitted he “was required to disclose” his relationship with Gollust when it began but didn’t.
“I was wrong,” he said. “As a result, I am resigning today.”
“Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years,” Gollust said Wednesday in a statement. “Our relationship changed during COVID. I regret that we didn’t disclose it at the right time.”