New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is facing allegations of sexual harassment from two former aides, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) predicts that more individuals will be speaking out about the governor’s conduct.
During a press conference on Monday, de Blasio was asked if the controversy surrounding Cuomo is a “culmination” of his behavior over the years.
“I don’t know why he has done these things he has done over the years, but he has,” de Blasio responded.
He added, “And I think more and more people are going to be talking about what they have experienced. And I think as people see more and more evidence, it’s going to be clear this is not the way any leader should treat anybody.”
The New York City mayor noted the two allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo as well as Assemblyman Ron Kim’s (D) claim that the governor berated him on a phone call and threatened his political career.
“Just look at this pattern of abuse, it’s unacceptable. So, I think a lot of truth is coming out. I think more truth will come out,” he said.
Watch the video below:
Mayor de Blasio on sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Cuomo:— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 1, 2021
"I think more and more people will be talking about what they have experienced…This is not the way a leader should treat anybody. What these women went through is unacceptable." https://t.co/uJ1i7AFgJY pic.twitter.com/WilEXdgsUD
On Wednesday, former aide Lindsey Boylan published a post on Medium in which she claimed Cuomo sexually harassed her. She accused the governor of unwanted touching, kissing her on the lips, and asking her to play strip poker.
“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,” Boylan charged.
Just days later, The New York Times published a report that detailed allegations made by former executive assistant and health policy adviser Charlotte Bennett.
Bennett told the paper that Cuomo asked her questions about her personal life and, “I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared.’
“And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job,” she added.
In a statement to the Times, Cuomo denied that he “made advances toward Ms. Bennett” or intended to “to act in any way that was inappropriate.”
Boylan’s allegations led de Blasio to call for an independent investigation, as IJR reported.
After the Times published its report on Bennett’s allegations, the chair of the New York State Senate’s Ethics and Internal Governance Committee, Alessandra Biaggi (D), released a statement calling for Cuomo’s resignation.
#BREAKING: Tonight I issued a statement regarding assertions of sexual harassment against Governor Cuomo.— Alessandra Biaggi (@SenatorBiaggi) February 28, 2021
As a New Yorker, a legislator, Chair of the Senate Ethics and Internal Governance Committee, and a survivor of sexual abuse, I am calling for Governor Cuomo to resign. pic.twitter.com/2aKiN8CIkR
State Sen. Julia Salazar (D) argued that in light of the allegations, “Impeachment needs to be on the table.”
If the law requires that the Governor refer an investigation to the AG in order for the AG to investigate Cuomo, then that needs to happen immediately. Impeachment needs to be on the table too. Allowing Cuomo to evade responsibility would be an injustice and disservice to victims— Julia Salazar (@JuliaCarmel__) February 28, 2021
State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ort (R) also called for Cuomo to resign.
In a statement on Sunday afternoon, Cuomo defended his behavior as he argued Boylan and Bennett misinterpreted what he meant to be “good-natured” jokes or teasing.
Cuomo said, “I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.”
“To be clear, I never inappropriately touched anybody, and I never propositioned anybody, and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve an answer to,” the governor added.