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Former CNN anchor details 'manipulation,' 'bullying' she experiences at the network before she was pushed out


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Former CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin detailed what went on behind the scenes in the years and months leading up to her exit from the network after 13 years on-air. 

Baldwin penned an essay in Vanity Fair about her experience at CNN, citing "manipulation" and "bullying" from her male colleagues and how she blames herself for not speaking up for what she wanted sooner. 

Hungry for experience, Baldwin described herself as a "yes" woman, which paid off when CNN moved her from Atlanta to New York. However, trouble struck when her executive producer stayed behind and her close relationship with him took a turn.

"My producer made me feel as though I couldn’t do heavy-hitting interviews without him. Or, maybe, I allowed him to make it feel like I couldn’t do heavy-hitting interviews without him," she wrote. "The word gaslighting has become so cliché, but that’s what it felt like. Manipulation. Bullying."

She said he would sometimes "go dark" during her live broadcasts and "depending on his mood, he might refuse to actually speak into my ear, instead writing me notes on the teleprompter during commercial breaks."

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Balwin explained how she didn't report up the chain of command because "Good girls smile, are grateful for our jobs, and keep our mouths shut. We definitely don’t speak up."

"Everything changed for me the day in 2015 when Donald Trump came down that escalator," she added. "In the years that followed, I was not only pushed out of alignment with what news had become and how I was being told to cover it; I was also changed. I got curious about the legions of women who, as a direct result of that election, finally decided to speak up."

When she finally did advocate for herself in November 2019, asking the former president of CNN, Jeff Zucker, to have her producer removed from her team, just as another male colleague had done, her request was denied. 

A few weeks later, she was called back into Zucker's office and her agent said something like, "Brooke, your boss is furious at you. What have you done?!" she wrote. "I couldn’t help but wonder: Why was I even sitting there? Why did I suddenly feel like the third wheel with my executive producer and my boss? Had I inadvertently kicked a hornet’s nest? All because I had gone over my producer’s head to the big boss?"

"Instead of addressing me right away, my boss engaged in the longest five-minute conversation of my life—not with me, but with my agent," she wrote. "The topic: whether Anderson Cooper, another of her clients, was happy with the view out of his new office. I stood there waiting to hear my fate."

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Before he told her that she needed her executive producer and that he wouldn't be moving him off her show, Brook said Zucker threatened: "I could give your show to someone in Washington tomorrow." [Long pause] "But I won’t…because I believe you’re the best broadcaster on this network."

Baldwin was later removed from the air for two months during the 2020 presidential election and when she did go back on air, she said Zucker cut her time in half. Then, in January 2021, she was informed that she was being forced out without explanation. 

"From that moment on, after I’d spent 13 years at CNN, Jeff never spoke to me again," she wrote. "Neither did my former executive producer, who ended up getting moved to another show for COVID-protocol reasons and then eventually promoted." 

Before her final show, Baldwin did an interview with the Ms. magazine podcast, where she discussed gender inequality at CNN, which reportedly made Zucker go "nuclear," according to her agent. 

"Through my final days at CNN, I was so allergic to the idea of that man that instead of risking running into him on the way to the bathroom, I contemplated peeing in a Gatorade bottle in my office," she wrote in Vanity Fair. "Everything was upside down."

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Baldwin reflected on her ending at CNN and her journey to finding her voice to speak up for herself. 

"Life is unfair," Baldwin wrote. "People are sh---y. Bosses are bullies. This is not news. In the hierarchy of giving a s--t, I didn’t think my story, my thousand little cuts, amounted to much."

"It’s taken me nearly three years to remove the blinders, feel the anger, welcome the fear, and recognize that in all my yesses, in all my silence, in all my enabling, the person who betrayed me the most was me," she wrote. 

CNN did not respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment. 

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