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After Cuomo Revelations, Too Many Men Are Proudly Announcing That They’d Help Their Abuser Brothers Too

Chris and Andrew Cuomo stand together smiling on a red carpet

When new documents were made public Monday revealing CNN’s Chris Cuomo had played a larger, more aggressive role in combating sexual harassment and abuse allegations against his brother (former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo) than previously was previously known, reactions were … mixed.

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There was a good amount of outrage aimed at Cuomo and at CNN, and Tuesday evening the network announced it was indefinitely suspending the anchor. But the news was also met with a wave of “who cares?” responses. Online, a lot of people were reacting to the news by saying that they don’t see what the big deal is and that they would also do anything they could to help their brother.

That did not need to be said. We know. We know that most men would and do choose to protect abusive men with whom they have personal relationships (or even those they don’t) over the women they’ve abused.

There is, however, also a big difference between a regular guy trying to help his sexual abuser brother (still not great and maybe the best way to “help” your brother is by not facilitating his abuse—just a thought!) and a powerful media figure using his industry resources to help his brother who also happens to be the governor of a whole state. That’s both a major breach of journalistic ethics as well as an abuse of power on so many different levels.

Which is why it was especially infuriating (if not entirely surprising) to see that it wasn’t just non-media people sharing the opinion that they would do what Cuomo did if faced with the same scenario, but journalists and other media figures as well.

A screenshot of a tweet from Matthew Yglesias reading "If my brother ever gets embroiled in scandal, I'm gonna do some unethical shit to help him out."

It is primarily men sharing this opinion, although not exclusively, as political strategist and former Pete Buttigieg communications director Lis Smith showed us:

It’s bad enough to announce unprompted that you would help your brother cover up abuse allegations and retaliate against his accusers but using terms like “gets embroiled in scandal” and “fell into trouble” is just cowardly. Andrew Cuomo didn’t fall into trouble, he has been accused of routinely and systematically harassing and abusing his employees and other women over a period of many years. If you’re willing to leverage your career to help facilitate that kind of behavior and keep that person in a position of extreme power, at least have the courage to say so.

(image: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.