Brooke Baldwin compares 2021 CNN exit to ‘gaslighting’

Former CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin is speaking out about what she say really led to her exit from the network in 2021.

According to a piece in Vanity Fair, Baldwin says she developed a contentious working relationship with an executive producer and made a complaint about the unnamed staffer.

Instead, then-CEO Jeff Zucker “wanted me out,” she wrote.

She alleges that despite what she called a positive attitude at work, and that the network was, in her words, “gaslighting” her. She says the network moved her from Atlanta to New York but kept her producer team in Atlanta, meaning all work had to be done remotely (CNN has used other similar setups for other anchor-producer teams for some time now. At the time CNN had editorial staffers in New York, but this has since been reduced since it transitioned away from the old format of “CNN This Morning” to one with Kasie Hunt solo-anchoring from Washington. D.C. but her editorial team is in Atlanta).

After she moved to NYC, her producer began pushing his weight on her to prepare for interviews, making her feel like she couldn’t handle that task on her own, she wrote, also calling what happened “manipulation” and “bullying.”

She also wrote that she would often enter the studio, get mic’d and put in her IFB, only to be greeted by a junior staffer instead of her EP, as is often the custom.

Baldwin eventually requested the producer be moved off her team, but the network did not make that change. 

“I could give your show to someone in Washington tomorrow. But I won’t … because I believe you’re the best broadcaster on this network,” was Zucker’s alleged response to Baldwin’s request. 

Advertisement

Then, the network pulled her off the air for two months ahead of the 2020 election, a move that it publicly claimed was to offer more in-depth coverage of the campaign and vote.

In January 2021, her agent got in touch and told her Zucker wanted her out. She ultimately left later that year and would never speak with Zucker again. Most of her former colleagues were also silent.

Baldwin acknowledges that she was not permitted to talk about her exit — and even noted she probably still isn’t supposed to be sharing what she says happened.

“I had to lie to my team, my friends and family, and my viewers,” she wrote.

She added that the EP was later moved to another show due to COVID-19 protocols and later received a promotion with the network.

Since CNN, Baldwin has popped up on Netflix’s “The Trust” — a reality competition show, which started in early 2024.

It’s not clear if she tried to get another job in journalism or cable TV. It seems likely that any non-compete agreements she signed back in 2021 would have expired by 2024 if not earlier, so she may have had the opportunity to pursue other cable news networks if she wanted. Her piece did mention that she found her voice and started saying “yes” to the things she wanted to do, including the Netflix gig. 

She’s also been pursuing filmmaking and storytelling projects. 

CNN did not immediately repsond to requests for comment on Baldwin’s piece or claims.