CNN Chief Jeff Zucker Jokes About Sleeping With ‘New Day’ Anchor Alisyn Camerota

CNN Chief Jeff Zucker Jokes About Sleeping With ‘New Day’ Anchor Alisyn Camerota

While accepting a lifetime achievement award on Thursday, CNN president Jeff Zucker casually tossed out a sexually suggestive joke about CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota — the same Camerota who opened up about being sexually harassed by former Fox News chief Roger Ailes.

According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Jeremy Barr, who was in attendance at the Mirror Awards, Zucker decided to make the following remark about Camerota, who was MC’ing the event:

“I was gonna say that I love waking up WITH YOU every morning, but I want to say that I love waking up TO YOU every morning.”

As Barr and others noted, there were audible groans in the room when Zucker made his joke. Besides the fact that it was obviously inappropriate for the head of a network — receiving a LEADERSHIP award, no less — to openly suggest he’d like to sleep with one of his subordinates, it also came after New Yorker reporter Ronan Farrow had given a speech calling out members of the media, telling them they needed to be held accountable for their sexual misconduct.

In a comment to Mediaite, Camerota brushed off Zucker’s joke and said she didn’t think it constituted sexual harassment.

“It’s the oldest joke in the book made to morning show anchors, both men and women,” she said. “I hear it a couple of times a week from people in the grocery store. That isn’t harassment, in my opinion, and I didn’t find it tone deaf, either.”

Zucker, meanwhile, once participated in a Friar’s roast for since-disgraced former NBC anchor Matt Lauer in 2008. During his routine, Zucker — who was then chief of NBC-Universal — joked that Lauer spent many nights on his office couch because of marital troubles. Lauer was terminated by NBC over allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior with colleagues.

After Lauer came out of hiding to attend the CNN leader’s 54th birthday party in April, Zucker had to reassure CNN employees that he
was not looking to bring Lauer on board at the network.

Justin Baragona

Justin Baragona is the founder/publisher of Contemptor and a contributor to The Daily Beast. He was previously the Cable News Correspondent for Mediaite and prior to starting Contemptor, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.