Sitting alongside her Native Land Pod co-hosts, former MSNBC anchor Tiffany Cross and former Tallahassee Florida mayor Andrew Gillum, Rye shared her emotional story about receiving explicit text messages from Chris Cuomo, calling it “one of the most embarrassing, humiliating experiences” of her life.
Rye tearfully told the story of Cuomo sending her a screenshot of a bikini photo she took, calling her “tinsel crotch” and connecting the moment to CNN not renewing her contract the day after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, just days after Cuomo promised her a new “promising role.”
Per The Daily Beast:
“Truthfully, I had my doubts about the genuine nature of this idea,” she said, adding that “Cuomo came up with this particular segment idea after a text exchange that went woefully wrong.” Rye added that she questioned herself at the time, wondering if she could “ignore this indiscretion” that had previously occurred.
That indiscretion, she alleges, occurred on New Year’s Day of 2021 when she posted an image of herself in a gold-sequined swimsuit on Instagram. According to Rye, Cuomo soon took a screenshot of the photo and privately messaged her: “Happy New Year, tinsel crotch.”
“Stunned, I read and re-read the message a dozen times, trying to understand if I somehow brought this on myself, since whatever you post on social is fair game, right,” Rye stated. “I felt like the safest place I had on a show on CNN had been compromised.”
On @nativelandpod, we share the stories you’ve been waiting to hear on the first three episodes.
— a. rye (@angela_rye) January 13, 2024
Angela Rye Tried To Ignore The Explicit Text, Hoping It Would Go Away
Rye further explains that she “ignored it just hoping it would go away” and didn’t speak with him for two days even though he texted “Hello” a few hours after sending the initial text.
“I tried to punt until after the Georgia runoffs, asking a week later if he still wanted to discuss his work idea despite him mentioning tinsel bikini and tinsel bottom along the way. As I think about this, it feels so fucking small compared to what other women in the workplace experience. But I was afraid to speak up between New Year’s and my follow-up,” Rye continued.
An emotional Rye connected the dots between CNN letting her go and the text messages Cuomo sent while telling the story to her podcast hosts.
Cuomo has not responded to Rye’s claims, and a CNN spokesperson declined to comment,
A spokesperson for NewsNation, Cuomo’s current employer, said: “We have no comment on anything that may or may not have happened prior to Mr. Cuomo’s employment with Nexstar.”
Rye Says She Was Mad At Herself For Protecting Cuomo’s Image
As she continued, Rye revealed that Cuomo did reach out to her in 2023, noting that she was afraid of “making it a bigger deal” because of the other potential roles she was in conversation with other networks for a possible role.
“Chris, you texted me from a new number last year asking if I’m mad at you. I was, but I was really mad at myself. I was mad at myself for not saying anything sooner because I was lacking courage and preferring my financial well-being over my mental health,” Rye said.
She continued, “I was mad at myself for protecting your image with the Black women I know who loved you, who looked forward to hearing your voice. I know I’m not the only one,” Rye continued. “And truthfully, I’m mad about that too, that everyone has given you a pass for fear of what it might mean to hold you accountable for clearly inappropriate behavior and overstepping.”
Cuomo lost his job with CNN in 2021 for helping dig up dirt on his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s accusers. He was also hit with sexual harassment allegations that CNN says led to his firing.
X’s reactions to Rye’s emotional story are in the gallery below.
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