Gov. Andrew Cuomo used photos of Obama and Bush hugging hurricane victims to defend himself against a flood victim’s sexual harassment allegation

Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

  • Cuomo used photos of presidents comforting hurricane victims to defend himself against harassment claims.
  • A flood victim accused Cuomo of “forcibly” kissing her while touring her property in 2017.
  • Cuomo’s attorney likened the governor’s behavior toward the woman to Bush and Obama’s treatment of disaster victims.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used photos of former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama comforting hurricane victims to defend himself against the state attorney general’s report on Tuesday that he sexually harassed multiple women.

An attorney for Cuomo, Rita Glavin, included more than 40 photos of Cuomo and other lawmakers hugging and kissing various people in an 85-page statement released Tuesday afternoon. Glavin used some of the photos to defend Cuomo against an allegation by Sherry Vill, a flood victim, that Cuomo “forcibly” kissed her and “manhandled” her while visiting her property after a 2017 flood.

“The Governor’s embrace of Ms. Vill occurred during an attempt to comfort her during a difficult time, while the two of them were surrounded by her family and the press,” the statement read. “The Governor’s interactions with Ms. Vill are not different than thousands of similar interactions that he and other politicians have had with numerous victims of natural disasters and other tragedies.”

The defense points to a 2012 photo of Obama hugging a tearful female victim of Hurricane Sandy and a 2005 photo of Bush hugging Sandra Patterson, whose Mississippi home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Vill told NBC News that Cuomo acted “aggressively” towards her.

“I felt he was coming on to me in my own home,” Vill said. “I felt like I was being manhandled.”

Vill told media outlets and the attorney general’s investigators that Cuomo kissed her without her consent on both cheeks and called her “beautiful” in front of her son and others. The investigators wrote that Vill’s account of being grabbed by the face and kissed was similar to other complainant’s accounts. Vill was not among the 11 named women who the report found made credible allegations of sexual misconduct against Cuomo.

“Perhaps sensing her discomfort, Ms. Vill informed us that [Cuomo] said something along the lines of ‘That’s what Italians do-kiss both cheeks,'” the investigators wrote.

The statement included several other photos of Obama, President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other top lawmakers embracing each other and constituents.

During a televised statement on Tuesday, Cuomo insisted that he touches people’s faces and hugs them to “convey warmth and nothing more.”

“You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people: women, men, children, et cetera,” Cuomo said. “You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people, men, women. It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”

The attorney general’s investigation, which was conducted by independent attorneys, found that Cuomo violated both federal and state law by sexually harassing multiple female members of his own staff, state employees, and a state trooper. It also found that Cuomo and his aides retaliated against at least one former aide after she made her allegations public.

“The independent investigation found that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, many of whom were young women, by engaging in unwanted groping, kisses, hugging, and by making inappropriate comments,” Attorney General Letitia James said during a press conference on Tuesday.

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CNN’s Chris Cuomo helped his brother, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, with ‘strategy calls’ to craft his response to sexual harassment allegations: WaPo

chris cuomo andrew cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, is seen with his little brother Chris, a CNN anchor.

  • CNN’s Chris Cuomo joined his brother, Andrew Cuomo, for “strategy calls,” according to The Washington Post.
  • The younger Cuomo reportedly helped craft a PR response to sexual harassment allegations against the New York governor.
  • CNN issued a statement saying his involvement was “inappropriate.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

CNN host Chris Cuomo was reportedly brought into “strategy calls” with his brother, Andrew Cuomo, and his aides to iron out a communications strategy following the litany of sexual harassment allegations leveled against the New York governor earlier this year.

Andrew Cuomo, who has denied any wrongdoing, was joined by his younger brother on “a series of conference calls that included the Democratic governor’s top aide, his communications team, lawyers and a number of outside advisers,” according to Josh Dawsey and Sarah Ellison of The Washington Post.

Chris told Andrew to take “a defiant stand” and not to resign amid mounting calls from Democrats in the state legislature and most of the Empire State’s congressional delegation, according to The Post.

CNN released a statement to The Post acknowledging the calls and describing them as a mistake.

“Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo – on air or behind the scenes,” CNN said in the statement. “In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother.”

“However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges,” the statement continued. “He will not participate in such conversations going forward.”

CNN also told The Post that the anchor will not face any discipline over the conference calls.

“There were a few phone conversations, with friends and advisers giving the governor advice,” Andrew Cuomo’s spokesman Rich Azzopardi told The Post.

The CNN anchor used the phrase “cancel culture” in one of the calls, according to two people on the line who spoke with The Post.

In mid-March, Andrew Cuomo used the same term when decrying lawmakers calling for his resignation.

The Cuomo brothers were also involved in a scandal around friends and family of the governor getting priority testing for COVID-19, which the governor’s office said was instead part of an effort to protect key personnel from the virus.

Chris is 13 years younger than Andrew, and the two had quite different childhoods when their father, Mario, was the 52nd governor of New York.

Andrew went to high school at St. Gerard Majella’s School in Queens before running his father’s first gubernatorial campaign in his early 20s, while Chris went to high school in Upstate New York at Albany Academy while Mario was governor in the 1980s.

Their relationship raised ethics concerns from media watchdogs when the governor would appear on his brother’s CNN show during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One segment involving a comedic bit around a PCP test swab – which aired exactly one year before Thursday’s Post story – drew substantial backlash from viewers and political rivals before the pair stopped appearing together.

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YouTube has demonetized James Charles temporarily amid allegations that he sexted minors

James Charles
  • James Charles has been demonetized, YouTube confirmed.
  • YouTube told Insider that Charles has been “temporarily removed” from the Partner Program.
  • The move follows more than 15 sexual misconduct accusations from men and boys.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

YouTube has temporarily removed one of its most popular creators from its Partner Program, restricting makeup YouTuber James Charles’ ability to make money from the platform. In a statement to Insider, YouTube said it has applied its “creator responsibility policy” to Charles’ channel with more than 25.5 million subscribers. The platform did not say how long Charles will be demonetized for.

The creator responsibility policy states that “If we see that a creator’s on- and/or off-platform behavior harms our users, community, employees or ecosystem, we may take action to protect the community.” It goes on to say that YouTube may take action against creators who intend to cause “malicious harm to others” or who cause “real world harm” via abuse or violence, cruelty, or participating in fraudulent or deceptive behavior.

Got a tip? Email Kat Tenbarge at ktenbarge@insider.com.

James Charles posing
James Charles poses with fans at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards. Charles was ranked number ten in YouTube’s 2020 list of the platforms top creators.

YouTube’s action against Charles follows a major sexting scandal he’s involved in. More than 15 men and boys have accused Charles of sexual misconduct since 2019, ranging from anonymous underage sexting accusations on TikTok to men who say Charles attempted to manipulate them into romantic and sexual reciprocation.

In an April 1 video on his YouTube channel called “holding myself accountable,” Charles addressed two sexting accusations he said were made by 16-year-olds, saying that the interactions with the boys “should have never happened.” He also claimed that the accusers lied about their ages.

One 16-year-old who accused Charles of sending him nudes photos and soliciting nude photos from him told Insider that Charles “lied” in his statement. The same 16-year-old provided Insider with screenshots that showed his age could be seen on Instagram his Instagram profile, where Charles and him exchanged direct messages.

Most recently, following more than a dozen allegations made on TikTok, Charles’ primary beauty sponsor Morphe announced it would cut ties with him. The cosmetics company previously faced a boycott from angry consumers.

In a statement responding to Morphe, Charles wrote “Since posting that video, many other people have come forward with a series of misleading stories and false allegations which have been reported on by many people, creators, and news outlets.”

YouTube’s creator responsibility policy has previously been applied to Shane Dawson in 2020 and David Dobrik in 2021 following critical mainstream media attention in both cases. Dawson was criticized by Jada Pinkett Smith and Jaden Smith after a video resurfaced of him pretending to masturbate to a poster of then-11-year-old Willow Smith. Dobrik was demonetized for one month following Insider’s investigation into rape allegations against a former member of his Vlog Squad group.

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Wall Street billionaire Leon Black denied sexual harassment allegations made by a former model, and said he paid her to keep the ‘affair’ quiet

Leon Black
Leon Black, former CEO and chairman of Apollo Global Management.

  • Leon Black denied sexual harassment allegations, and said they weren’t linked to his exit from Apollo.
  • Black in a statement that he paid the former model, Guzel Ganieva, to keep the “consensual affair” a secret.
  • Ganieva tweeted in March she had been “sexually harassed and abused” by Black for years.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Leon Black, the former CEO Apollo Global Management, on Thursday denied sexual harassment allegations made against him by a former model, and said their “consensual affair” had nothing to do with his departure from the firm.

He also said that he paid the woman, Guzel Ganieva, to keep their affair a secret from the public.

His comments came after the New York Post reported Thursday that his exit from Apollo on March 22 happened days after Ganieva’s accusations came to light.

Ganieva tweeted on March 17 that she had been “sexually harassed and abused” by Black “for years.” She said it began in 2008, when she met him to discuss work. She “refused his sexual advances” at the time, she said.

“I was bullied, manipulated, threatened, and coerced,” Ganieva said, adding: “I was forced to sign an NDA in 2015.”

Following the Post’s report, Black issued a statement denying the allegations, and also saying they were unrelated to his departure.

“I foolishly had a consensual affair with Ms. Ganieva that ended more than seven years ago,” Black said in the statement, per Bloomberg. “Any allegation of harassment or any other inappropriate behavior towards her is completely fabricated.”

Black, 69, said that he gave Ganieva money to keep quiet about their affair. “The truth is that I have been extorted by Ms. Ganieva for many years and I made substantial monetary payments to her, based on her threats to go public concerning our relationship, in an attempt to spare my family from public embarrassment.”

He said the situation was “personal” and “has nothing to do with Apollo or my decision to step away from the firm.”

Ganieva told Bloomberg: “I stand by what I said in my tweets on March 17.”

The Wall Street billionaire stepped down as CEO and chairman of Apollo on March 22. His exit came after an independent investigation showed he paid $158 million to the disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein between 2012 to 2017. The investigation said neither Black nor Apollo employees were involved in Epstein’s criminal activities.

Jay Clayton, the former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, is now chairman, and Apollo cofounder Marc Rowan has taken over as CEO.

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Pelosi stops short of urging Cuomo to resign, says he should ‘look inside his heart’ ‘to see if he can govern effectively’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is meeting with White House officials to hash out a deal on another coronavirus rescue package.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday did not join her Democratic colleagues in calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.
  • In recent weeks, women came forward with allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed them.
  • High-profile Democrats like Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have called on him to resign.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stopped short on Sunday of calling for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.

Meanwhile, her Democratic colleagues in both the House and the Senate have urged the governor to resign after multiple allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against him.

After former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan came forward in December with allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed her for years, other women began to speak up as well.

Several said Cuomo sexually assaulted or behaved inappropriately around them. Some said he touched them without consent, and others documented detailed accounts and patterns of verbal abuse.

Powerful Democratic lawmakers in New York such as Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand have called on him to resign.

Pelosi, however, when asked whether she believed Cuomo should resign, skirted the question.

Speaking on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday, Pelosi said she wants to see the results of the investigation into the claims of harassment. The claims against him “must be treated with respect,” she said.

“They are credible and serious charges,” she continued. “I have confidence in the attorney general of New York. She has called for an I think expeditious investigation.”

When asked whether she believed Cuomo could be an effective leader for the state of New York at this time, Pelosi avoided answering directly.

“I think we should see the results” of the investigation, she said. “Hopefully this result will be soon. And what I’m saying is the governor should look inside his heart. He loves New York.”

He should “see if he can govern effectively,” she added.

Cuomo’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

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One of Cuomo’s accusers criticized Biden and Harris for staying silent on sexual harassment allegations in a now-deleted tweet

biden harris speech
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on International Women’s Day as President Joe Biden (L) and Air Force General Jacqueline Van Ovost (R) listen during an announcement at the East Room of the White House March 8, 2021 in Washington, DC

  • Biden and Harris have not yet commented on the sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo.
  • One of Cuomo’s accusers, Lindsey Boylan, criticized them for staying silent in a now-deleted tweet.
  • Boylan’s tweet questioned the White House’s “courage” and “judgment” for not weighing in on the scandal.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the first woman to accuse him of sexual harassment, has criticized President Joe Biden and Vice President Harris for their silence on the scandal.

Boylan, who said in an essay that she worked for Cuomo until he tried to kiss her without her consent, questioned the “courage” of both Biden and Harris in a tweet that has since been deleted, Fox News reported.

“The governor has denied all wrongdoing,” Boylan wrote in the first of two posts. “He got on his platform today and said, ‘there are many motivations of why people do things.’ He is calling up hate and speculation to be directed to his accusers. All harm and hate directed at the women sits squarely on @NYGovCuomo.”

In the second now-deleted tweet, Boylan took aim at the White House. “It also calls into question the judgment and courage of both @POTUS and @KamalaHarris,” she wrote.

deleted tweet cuomo accuser
An image of Boylan’s now-deleted tweet.

Neither Biden nor Harris has publicly commented on the string of allegations against Cuomo. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, however, addressed the scandal in a press briefing on Friday.

“The President believes that every woman who’s come forward – there have now been six, I believe, who have come forward – deserves to have her voice heard, should be treated with respect, and should be able to tell her story,” Psaki told reporters.

Cuomo is facing calls to resign from a number of high-profile politicians. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said in a joint statement that Cuomo “should resign.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a dozen other New York lawmakers have also demanded Cuomo’s resignation over accusations of engaging in “a pattern of sexual harassment and assault” and for hiding data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths.

Cuomo has apologized for previous behavior but has refused to step down.

“I did not do what has been alleged, period,” Cuomo said in a Friday conference call.

“People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture, and the truth,” the governor added.

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Female Cuomo staffers say they were pressured to wear makeup, heels, and dresses to please the governor and get ahead professionally

cuomo gyms reopening
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on July 23, 2020 in New York City

  • Female aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo say there was an informal dress code for women in his office.
  • A dozen young women told The New York Times they felt pressured to wear dresses, heels, and makeup around him.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A slew of female aides to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo say they were either explicitly told or felt pressured to wear makeup and dress up to please the governor and get ahead professionally.

Twelve women told The New York Times that there was a general understanding that they should wear heels, dresses, and makeup when in Cuomo’s presence. More than a dozen women who’ve worked for Cuomo told New York Magazine that the governor and his top female aides applied heavy pressure to dress well and in expensive clothing. Some said they were specifically directed to wear heels when in the governor’s presence. Several current and former aides in the governor’s office told The Times that women who are tall, thin, and blonde were favored in the hiring process.

Another former aide named Kaitlin, who asked that her last name not be used, told New York Magazine that the governor would criticize her physical appearance if she came to work with wet hair or otherwise didn’t meet his standards. She said he would tell her, “You decided not to get ready today?” or, “You didn’t put makeup on today?”

One former staffer, Ana Liss, said an executive assistant to the governor told her, “When the governor is here, you need to look really good.”

A current senior aide and two former staffers told The Times they believed they were passed over for certain professional opportunities because of how they dressed. Three former staffers said they had to dress the way Cuomo wanted if they desired special attention from the governor. Staffers who dressed according to Cuomo’s code would be seated at desks in view of his office in the Capitol building, The Times reported.

Cuomo’s office has denied claims about the informal dress code for women.

“Not now nor has there ever been an expectation to wear certain clothing or high heels,” Richard Azzopardi, a top adviser, told The Times.

These allegations come as the New York Attorney General’s office is overseeing an investigation into multiple claims of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances made against Cuomo by eight women, including former aides. New York State lawmakers have initiated an impeachment inquiry and the majority of the state’s congressional Democrats are calling on the governor to resign.

On Friday, the governor again denied any wrongdoing and refused to resign.

Peter Yacobellis, who was Cuomo’s deputy director of administrative services from 2011 to 2014, told The Times there was “clearly a toxic environment for many women in the governor’s office” and no substantial sexual harassment training.

“If you are a woman who wants to focus on work, it is the worst place to be,” New York State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who was an aide to Cuomo for seven months in 2017, told The Times. Biaggi is an outspoken critic of the governor, whom she’s called a “monster,” and is calling on him to resign.

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Some Cuomo staffers are ‘waking up to the fact that we were in a cult’ amid sexual harassment scandal, according to new report

andrew cuomo staff derosa
From Left to right: Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Director of the Budget Robert Mujica.

  • As scandals engulf Andrew Cuomo, more former staffers are opening up about his management style.
  • “We’re all kind of waking up to the fact that we were in a cult,” one told The Gothamist.
  • Cuomo’s penchant for micromanagement and peculiar tastes reportedly dominate the workplace.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Long the subject of hush-hush anecdotes and off-the-record tales, details of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s management style are increasingly emerging as scandals rock his administration.

 “We’re all kind of waking up to the fact that we were in a cult,” a former staffer told Gothamist in a new report published Thursday.

“A micromanager to the 100th degree,” another told the NYC web publication. “One of the worst I’ve ever seen.”

Speaking anonymously to protect against potential retribution from the governor and his allies in various corners of New York politics, the former employees explained the governor’s peculiar tastes and propensity to erupt over seemingly minor flubs.

“One staffer described an incident in Buffalo in 2017, where an aide briefly left his side, and Cuomo walked out onto the stage before being formally introduced by the loudspeaker. Embarrassed, he’d retreated back into the wings, ripping into the young staffer,” WNYC’s Gwynne Hogan wrote for Gothamist. “Cuomo fired the man on the spot, another staffer described, though his bosses kept him on without the governor’s knowledge.”

Cuomo also reportedly demands that all of his indoor events be conducted at a temperature between 67 and 71 degrees, with aides known to scramble for an AC unit at the last minute in an effort to accommodate for the governor’s ideal climate. At Cuomo speaking events, a pair of fans can often be spotted behind him.

How staff dressed when the governor was in the building – either the capitol in Albany or Cuomo’s NYC field office – was of utmost importance, the aides said. The proverbial “black dress” worn by women in the Cuomo administration was one of the key components, along with high heels and, for the men, spotless dress shoes.

“I knew by looking cute, and not being obstinate or opinionated, and doing what I was told and looking polished… That is the only way I would survive there,” one of the former staffers said.

Another former aide told Gothamist that they were abruptly flown back from a vacation so they could finish a task for the governor, and that having a “go bag” was just as much of a necessity as a Blackberry was in the Cuomo administration.

The effects of working in such an intense environment came with a personal toll, a former aide under the alias of Sarah told Gothamist.

After being told the governor “likes blondes,” Sarah said she was told “You gotta wear heels when he’s in Albany sweetie, that’s the rule.”

“I hate the fact that I viewed it as a professional, personal failure that I couldn’t survive because of how f—-ed up and mean and nasty everyone was,” she recalled. “Power was the number one goal. It wasn’t really about making things right or making things better for New Yorkers.”

Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi pushed back against Gothamists’ reporting, including over a detail that the women in the NYC office identified as “mean girls,” calling it a “sexist and offensive” characterization.

“Yes, they have seen him get impatient with partisan politics and disingenuous attacks,” Azzopardi responded. “We have a top-tier team and the Governor is direct with people if their work is subpar because the people of New York deserve nothing short of excellence from us.”

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A 2nd former aide has come forward to accuse Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment

andrew cuomo
New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on September 08, 2020 in New York City.

  • A former Cuomo aide alleged the governor sexually harassed her last spring.
  • Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo made sexual advances and asked her inappropriate questions.
  • The news comes days after another ex-Cuomo aide wrote a Medium essay detailing similar allegations.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A second former aide has come forward to allege that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed her, asking deeply personal questions about her sex life and making strange comments about her experience as a sexual assault survivor.

In an interview published Saturday, Charlotte Bennett, 25, told The New York Times that Cuomo had made unwanted sexual advances towards her in several different encounters last spring.

“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett told the Times. “And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.”

The news comes just days after another former Cuomo aide, Lindsey Boylan, published a Medium essay alleging several years of sexual harassment at Cuomo’s hands, including an unwanted kiss on the lips. Cuomo has denied Boylan’s allegations.

Cuomo’s office provided Insider with a statement denying that the governor made advances toward Bennett and saying he hadn’t intended to act inappropriately during their conversations. Cuomo’s statement also called for a “full and thorough outside review” of Bennett’s allegations and urged New Yorkers to withhold judgment until its findings are made public.

“Ms. Bennett was a hardworking and valued member of our team during COVID. She has every right to speak out,” Cuomo’s statement said, adding that he had tried to act as a mentor to Bennett. “When she came to me and opened up about being a sexual assault survivor and how it shaped her and her ongoing efforts to create an organization that empowered her voice to help other survivors, I tried to be supportive and helpful.”

Cuomo continued: “The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported.”

Cuomo indoor dining mask
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Bennett said Cuomo responded strangely when she mentioned her experience as a sexual assault survivor

Bennett said the first disturbing incident involving Cuomo occurred on May 15 at the Capitol, when the governor asked her if she was romantically involved with other staff members. Later in the conversation, Bennett offhandedly mentioned her past as a sexual assault survivor and said that Cuomo had a bizarre reaction.

Bennett provided the Times with text messages she sent to a friend at the time about Cuomo’s remarks.

“The way he was repeating, ‘You were raped and abused and attacked and assaulted and betrayed,’ over and over again while looking me directly in the eyes was something out of a horror movie,” Bennett’s text said. “It was like he was testing me.”

Bennett told the Times another upsetting encounter occurred just weeks later, on June 5. On that occasion, she said Cuomo asked her personal questions about whether her romantic relationships were monogamous and if she had ever had sex with an older man.

Bennett said that Cuomo never touched her during these encounters but that she interpreted his comments as sexual advances.

The Times confirmed Bennett’s allegations with one of her friends, who was not identified, and Bennett’s mother, who she also told about the conversations.

Bennett said she told Cuomo’s chief of staff about the June 5 encounter just days later and gave a statement to a special counsel to the governor that same month. Bennett said she was then transferred to a new job, which she was happy with, and did not insist on an investigation because she “wanted to move on.”

A statement provided to Insider from Beth Garvey, special counsel and senior adviser to the governor, said Bennett’s allegations “were treated with sensitivity and respect and in accordance with applicable law and policy.”

Garvey said Bennett transferred to a job “in which she had expressed long-standing interest” and “expressed satisfaction and appreciation for the way in which it was handled.”

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Former Cuomo staffer says the New York governor sexually harassed her ‘for years’

gov andrew cuomo laguardia
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

  • A woman who was once an advisor to Andrew Cuomo said the New York governor sexually harassed her for years.
  • “Yes, @NYGovCuomo sexually harassed me for years,” said Lindsey Boylan, who worked for him between 2015 and 2018.
  • Boylan, who is a Democratic candidate for Manhattan Borough President, was an aide to Cuomo, as well as the deputy secretary for economic development, according to her LinkedIn profile.
  • In a series of tweets last week, Boylan called Cuomo’s office the “most toxic team environment,” saying that people don’t come forward because they’re afraid of the repercussions. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a tweet on Sunday that the New York official sexually harassed her for years while she was employed in his office. 

“Yes, @NYGovCuomo sexually harassed me for years,” said Lindsey Boylan, who worked for the governor between 2015 and 2018. Boylan was an advisor to Cuomo, as well as the deputy secretary for economic development, according to her LinkedIn profile.

“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?” she tweeted. “This was the way for years.”

“Not knowing what to expect what’s the most upsetting part aside from knowing that no one would do a damn thing even when they saw it,” she added. “No one. And I *know* I am not the only woman.”

In a series of tweets last week, Boylan called Cuomo’s office the “most toxic team environment,” saying that people don’t come forward because they’re afraid of the repercussions. 

“If people weren’t deathly afraid of him, they’d be saying the same thing and you’d already know the stories,” she said, adding that she’s heard from others who’ve said similar things about working for him. Boylan did not give any names or more specific information last week when she called the office “toxic.”

Boylan said she goes to therapy to work out the trauma she’s experiencing from her three years in the governor’s office. 

Around the same time that Boylan worked for Cuomo, the lowest-paying jobs at his office belonged largely and disproportionately to women, according to a 2015 investigation done by Politico. Cuomo at the time had 96 women working in his office who had the lowest-paying jobs, while 52 men occupied the highest-paid positions with the most decision-making power. 

In her former role, Boylan wrote on her website that she “worked on some of the biggest issues facing New Yorkers, from helping to pass $15 minimum wage and paid family leave to developing workforce programs, creating jobs, and investing in small businesses.”

“I’ve worked hard my whole life. Hustled – fake it till you make it style,” she tweeted last week. “That environment is beyond toxic. I’m still unwrapping it years later in therapy!”

Cuomo, part of a longstanding New York political family – his father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo, served for three terms, from 1983 to 1994 – was first elected governor in 2010 and is currently in his third term. Before his election as governor, he was the US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1997 to 2001 under then-President Bill Clinton and served as New York’s Attorney General from 2007 to 2010.

Recent speculation has swirled around Cuomo possibly joining President-elect Joe Biden’s administration as attorney general, a prospect that Boylan firmly warned against.

“There are fewer things more scary than giving this man, who exists without ethics, even more control,” she wrote on Twitter. “I saw how he wielded power for years. He takes advantage of people, including me. I hope ⁦@JoeBiden⁩ & ⁦⁦@KamalaHarris⁩ don’t do this.”

Cuomo, who had received widespread praise this year for his coronavirus response, has touted himself as a progressive governor, pushing for the advancement of women. In January 2020, the governor signed a bill requiring an investigation of the number of women sitting on domestic and foreign boards that do business in New York. 

“From new pay equity laws to strongest-in-the-nation sexual harassment policies, New York is leading the fight for gender equality in the workplace – but our work won’t be done until women are better represented at the highest levels of organizations,” Cuomo said when he signed the legislation. 

In October 2015 – during the time of Boylan’s tenure at the governor’s office – Cuomo signed a $6.4 million legislation for a sexual assault prevention and assistance plan.

“This State has a legacy of leading the way in advancing equal rights – and today, we are making New York a model of equality for women,” he said in the press release announcing the effort.

In 2014, Cuomo referred to himself as a feminist

Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Without naming anyone, Boylan suggested there are others who have also experienced and witnessed Cuomo sexually harassing office workers. By engaging in this culture of sexual harassment against women, she said, Cuomo abuses his power.

GettyImages NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 17: Lindsey Boylan attends The 9th Annual Elly Awards Hosted By The Women's Forum Of New York on June 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Women's Forum of New York)
Lindsey Boylan attends The 9th Annual Elly Awards Hosted By The Women’s Forum Of New York on June 17, 2019 in New York City.

“I’m angry to be put in this situation at all. That because I am a woman, I can work hard my whole life to better myself and help others and yet still fall victim as countless women over generations have. Mostly silently. I hate that some men, like @NYGovCuomo abuse their power.”

Boylan did not respond to Business Insider’s requests for an interview. After Business Insider asked for comment, Boylan tweeted that she’s not interested “in talking to journalists.”

“I am about validating the experience of countless women and making sure abuse stops,” adding that the experiences are difficult to relive and talk about.

This past June, Boylan ran for Congress against House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler in the Democratic primary for New York’s 10th Congressional district. Nadler, who has served in House of Representatives since 1992, won the primary with 68% of the vote; Boylan came in second place, securing 22% of the vote.

Boylan recently joined the 2021 race for Manhattan borough president, where she hopes to succeed two-term incumbent Gale Brewer, who is term-limited. If she can win the Democratic primary, she’ll advance to the November election, where New Yorkers will also be choosing a new mayor to succeed Bill de Blasio, who is also term-limited.

On her Twitter page, she wrote that she was running for the borough presidency “to create a more equitable, sustainable, and livable city.”

She added: “Although we have many challenges ahead, I know that we can meet those challenges together and create lasting change for our city. Join me on this journey!”

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