CNN Suspends Contributor Ryan Lizza Amid "Improper Sexual Conduct" Probe

Ryan Lizza - 2009 The New Yorker Festival - Getty - H 2017
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The New Yorker severed ties with Lizza on Monday.

CNN has suspended contributor Ryan Lizza following his termination from The New Yorker for what the magazine called "improper sexual conduct."

"We have just learned of The New Yorker's decision," the network said Monday in a statement. "Ryan Lizza will not appear on CNN while we look into this matter."

In addition to being a frequent presence on CNN, Lizza had been The New Yorker's Washington correspondent since 2007. On Monday, seemingly out of the blue, the magazine announced his termination.

"The New Yorker recently learned that Ryan Lizza engaged in what we believe was improper sexual conduct," the magazine said in a statement. "We have reviewed the matter and, as a result, have severed ties with Lizza. Due to a request for privacy, we are not commenting further."

Lizza put out his own statement taking issue with his termination, which he said was a "terrible mistake." "I am dismayed that The New Yorker has decided to characterize a respectful relationship with a women I dated as somehow inappropriate," he said. "The New Yorker was unable to cite any company policy that I violated. I am sorry to my friends, workplace colleagues, and loved ones for any embarrassment this episode may cause."

He continued: "I love The New Yorker, my home for the last decade, and I have the highest regard for the people who work there. But this decision, which was made hastily and without a full investigation of the relevant facts, was a terrible mistake."

Later on Monday, Douglas Wigdor of Wigdor LLP announced that his firm is representing "the victim of Mr. Lizza's conduct." 

In a statement, Wigdor contested Lizza's description of the relationship. "Although she desires to remain confidential and requests that her privacy be respected, in no way did Mr. Lizza’s misconduct constitute a 'respectful relationship' as he has now tried to characterize it," he said. "Our client reported Mr. Lizza’s actions to ensure that he would be held accountable and in the hope that by coming forward she would help other potential victims."

Last week, MSNBC shelved contributor Harold Ford following his termination from his day job at Morgan Stanley.