“The View” co-host Sunny Hostin said Thursday that she didn’t understand why chief marketing officer Allison Gollust still had a job at CNN despite her involvement in the consensual relationship former network president Jeff Zucker cited as the reason for his resignation.
Hostin and her cohosts — with the exception of the suspended Whoopi Goldberg — discussed Zucker’s surprise resignation, which he attributed to his own failure to disclose a consensual relationship with a colleague (Gollust).
CNN’S JEFF ZUCKER RESIGNS AFTER OFFICE RELATIONSHIP REVEALED: After the CNN president announced he’s resigning for not disclosing a consensual relationship with a colleague, the co-hosts and @TaraSetmayer discuss the dangers of interoffice relationships. https://t.co/yIQrKL0OlH pic.twitter.com/FLs4UmPxXn
— The View (@TheView) February 3, 2022
“I think the problem is the optics of this. Because if you have advanced at all or garnered special favor from a boss you’re intimate with, that’s problematic in a workplace,” co-host Sara Haines said, adding, “She’s very qualified, but now that that’s released, how do you ever discern the intimacy of a relationship with your professional skills and job? I think it’s a problem with optics and fairness in a company.”
Hostin agreed that fairness was the key word, noting that former NBC anchor Katie Couric had written about the relationship and said that it made her uncomfortable even though everyone seemed to know about it.
“Now you have someone like Allison Gollust who is saying, I’m going to stay here. She started out as a publicist – senior publicist and now she’s the executive vice president at CNN,” Hostin continued.
“You attribute that to her relationship with Zucker?” co-host Joy Behar asked.
“Well, it could be interpreted that way, right? It could be interpreted that she got those promotions to be second in command because of the relationship,” Hostin continued.
“How do you know that?” Behar pressed. “Maybe she’s highly qualified.”
“It’s the appearance of impropriety. I think if I were still working at CNN and I was one of her direct reports, I would think she lacked judgment. I would be uncomfortable that she broke so many of those rules, and I would start questioning her leadership. I don’t think she should stay,” Hostin pushed back.
Guest co-host Tara Setmayer weighed in as well, saying that while there had been an evolution of sorts when it came to accepting interoffice consensual relationships, there were still problems when there was a perceived imbalance of power.
“When it’s the boss and someone who is junior to you, and then it takes away from the women who are qualified. Maybe she is great at her job. I don’t know, but when you have — it makes you second guess whether the woman deserves to be there or not, and everyone is going to side-eye her and say, you got there because you slept with the boss,” Setmayer said. “And that’s not fair to the women who may have had genuine relationships where that wasn’t the case and they deserve to be there, and then, you know, it takes away from their accomplishments. I think it’s messy because of the power dynamic.”
They went on to discuss the possibility that if the couple had disclosed the relationship earlier, CNN might have moved to make sure that Gollust did not report directly to Zucker — a point they agreed would have eliminated some of the concerns that promotions were not solely based on qualifications.
“As women, don’t we want other women to be held to the same standards that we hold men?” Hostin asked.
“Yes, absolutely,” Setmayer agreed.
“Jeff Zucker has to go. Why does Allison get to keep her job when she also had an incredible indiscretion and an incredible lack of judgment there?” Hostin concluded.
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