It’s time for Andrew Cuomo to face the music
It should have happened after the first allegation of sexual misconduct, but a third leveled against the New York Governor has many more calling for his resignation.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s career appears to be nearing a painful end.
Cuomo has already been facing calls for impeachment due to the controversy concerning the COVID-19 nursing home deaths. Now, a third woman has come forward with sexual allegations against the governor, and many are calling for his resignation.
The first woman to come forward with her story was 36-year-old Lindsey Boylan, a current candidate for Manhattan borough president who worked as an aide in Cuomo’s office from 2015 to 2018.
Boylan first made the allegations on Twitter in December, but it received little national attention.
In a thread about her experiences with workplace sexual harassment, she admitted that Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed her for many years and that “many saw it, and watched.”
Yes, @NYGovCuomo sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched.
I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks. Or would it be both in the same conversation? This was the way for years.
— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) December 13, 2020
In a recent post on Medium, she explained that on one occasion, the governor would ask Boylan if she wanted to play “strip poker,” while they were traveling on a state-owned plane, and on another, he gave her an unwanted kiss on the lips as she was leaving his office.
“Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected. His inappropriate behavior toward women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you must be doing something right,” Boylan wrote.
A second former aide, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett, went on record with the New York Times to tell a detailed report of her disturbing experiences with the governor.
Bennett alleged that during a private conversation with Cuomo in his office last June, he asked her thoughts about her romantic relationships, including whether age was a factor for her, and proceeded to say that he is open to relationships with women in their 20s.
Although Cuomo never made any physical advances towards Bennett, she said that he complained about being lonely during the pandemic and whined that he “can’t even hug anyone.”
He then pressed her by asking who she had last hugged. Bennett dodged the question by saying that she missed hugging her parents, but Cuomo responded with: “No, I mean like really hugged somebody.”
When she tried to change the subject, Bennett brought up her recent idea of getting a tattoo, and Cuomo suggested she should have it done on her buttocks. Bennett told the Times that she knew Cuomo wanted to engage with her sexually and felt “horribly uncomfortable and scared.”
“I was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job,” she said.
Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett’s detailed accounts of sexual harassment by Gov. Cuomo are extremely serious and painful to read.
There must be an independent investigation - not one led by an individual selected by the Governor, but by the office of the Attorney General.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 28, 2021
33-year-old Anna Ruch, came forward this week with her experience of sexual misconduct at the hands of Gov. Cuomo. Ruch said that Cuomo approached her during a Manhattan wedding in 2019, putting his hands on her bare back, and then clasping her head in his hands, asking, “Can I kiss you?”
The photo of Cuomo touching Anna Ruch asking for a kiss that I can’t share not because it’s not important but it’s triggering. I remember when a legislator who is no longer a NY legislator stared at my breasts every time I was in a meeting w/ them. I stand by survivors.
— Nelini Stamp (@NelStamp) March 2, 2021
“I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” Ruch told the New York Times. “It’s the act of impunity that strikes me. I didn’t have a choice in his physical dominance over me at that moment. And that’s what infuriates me.”
With these three serious accusations of sexual misconduct, Gov. Cuomo is facing many calls to resign. A group of six New York City lawmakers, all Democratic socialists, have released a statement demanding accountability.
The group includes Julia Salazar and Jabari Brisport, Assembly members Emily Gallagher, Phara Souffrant Forrest, Marcela Mitaynes and Zohran Mamdani.
“The accounts of sexual harassment from the women who have courageously come forward confirm what many in Albany have known for years: that Governor Cuomo uses his power to belittle, bully and harass his employees and colleagues,” they wrote.
Credible allegations of sexual harassment were made and require a fully independent investigation. Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett were brave to come forward.
Cuomo should recuse himself entirely from this process and task the NYS Attorney General to facilitate the probe. pic.twitter.com/7njT7NUnGr
— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) February 28, 2021
The governor has defended himself by saying that he is simply playful and makes jokes that may be misinterpreted as flirting. Some twitter users have suggested that his behavior is “not a big deal.”
Commentator Matt Walsh said on Twitter: “He’s accused of flirting with a few women and that’s what takes him down. Incredible.’”
Sexual harassment is linked to increased risks of anxiety, depression and diminshed self-esteem.
— Tara Reade (@ReadeAlexandra) March 2, 2021
As Boylan wrote in her Medium post: “I know some will brush off my experience as trivial. We are accustomed to powerful men behaving badly when no one is watching. But what does it say about us when everyone is watching and no one says a thing?"
Allegations of sexual misconduct should always be taken seriously.