- 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.”
—Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) December 13, 2020
“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.
“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!”