New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released a video statement responding to the findings of an investigation into claims of sexual harassment.
Updated (8/3/21 1:26 p.m. ET): Following the announcement that an independent inquiry into accusations that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo showed findings that the governor had sexually harassed women, Cuomo released a video to deny the allegations on Tuesday August 3.
Governor Cuomo Responds to Independent Reviewer Report: https://t.co/sgPuPEDXRU
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) August 3, 2021
Cuomo denied allegations that he had sexually harassed employees. He said that his attorney released a response to all the accusations against him. “I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone from me or made inappropriate sexual advances,” he said.
The governor also directly addressed allegations by Charlotte Bennett, and tried to provide further context to why he spoke with her about sexual assault. He claimed that Bennett’s story “resonated” with him, and he thought he could “help.” Cuomo apologized for speaking to her about her experience as a sexual assault survivor. “Charlotte, I want you to know that I am truly and deeply sorry. I brought my personal experience into the workplace, and I shouldn’t have done that,” he said. Cuomo also said he plans to legally battle the woman who anonymously accused him of groping her in his home office.
During the lengthy response, Cuomo also shared numerous photos of himself hugging and kissing a number of people on the cheek, referencing a woman who said she was uncomfortable when the governor greeted her at a wedding. “I now understand that there are generational or cultural perspectives that frankly I hadn’t fully appreciated, and I have learned from this,” he said. Cuomo also said that he wanted “New York State government to be a model of office behavior” and announced that he brought in someone to create new procedures for sexual harassment and improve training.
Update (8/3/21 12:13 p.m. ET): State Attorney General Letitia James announced the findings of an investigation into sexual harassments claims brought against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in a press conference on Tuesday August 3. James was accompanied by former federal prosecutor Joon Kim and employment lawyer Anne Clark to go over the findings.
The New York attorney general shared the findings of the investigation, which were further detailed in a 168-page report. “The independent investigation has concluded that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, and in doing so violated federal and state law. Specifically, the investigation found that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed current and former New York state employees by engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women,” James said.
James continued and explained the process of how investigators pursued the inquiry and why the investigation took place. She also introduced Kim and Clark, along with their qualifications. Before turning the floor over to the investigators, James showed support for Cuomo’s accusers. “This investigation has revealed conduct that corrodes the very fabric and character of our state government and shines light on injustice that can be present at the highest levels of government. None of this would have been illuminated if not for the heroic women that came forward. I’m inspired by all the brave women that came forward, but more importantly, I believe them,” she said.
Original: Amid the COVID-19 crisis, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is receiving major praise for his informative, and often blunt, briefings — even from past critics. Cuomo, 62, has governed New York for nine years, sometimes not popularly, but his public perception has changed in the time of coronavirus. Cuomo’s daily briefings became the much-needed antithesis to President Donald Trump‘s own addresses from the White House, telling New Yorkers about the realities of COVID-19’s impact on the state and New Yorkers’ lives. There are currently over 92,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York state, including over 47,439 in NYC alone. At least 2,300 in the state have died. Here’s what you need to know about Governor Cuomo, who has sparked the hashtag #presidentcuomo, as he continues to lead the response to the deadly virus:
1. He’s part of a political dynasty. Cuomo’s father is former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. He started his career in politics as his father’s campaign manager in 1982, then joining his staff as one of his policy advisors after Mario won the election, and only earned $1 a year for his salary (he also lived with him in Albany). Mario Cuomo served three terms as Governor of New York, leaving office in 1994.
2. His brother is CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. The governor’s appearances on his brother’s CNN show, Cuomo Prime Time, are highly-anticipated after they started hilariously sparring on camera. One March interview ended with the brothers arguing about who needs to call their mother next. Chris called his brother a “liar who ruined the credibility of the interview” for saying he already spoke to their mom. During another interview, he pestered his brother about whether or not he’d run for president. The governor called him “the meatball of the family.” You need to watch this immediately.
When Chris announced on March 31 that he had been diagnosed with COVID-19, the governor had nothing but sweet things to say during that day’s briefing: “Now, he is going to be fine. He’s young, in good shape, strong. Not as strong as he thinks,” he joked. “But he’ll be fine. [Chris is] really sweet, beautiful guy. And he’s my best friend. My father was always working, so it was always just me and Chris.”
3. He was President Bill Clinton’s HUD Secretary. Cuomo joined the Clinton administration in 1993 as Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development in the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. He served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1997 to 2001.
4. As governor, he’s an advocate for women’s and LGBTQ rights. Cuomo is known for championing the Women’s Equality Act in 2013, which contained 10 component bills about domestic violence, human trafficking, and pregnancy discrimination. The 10th bill, the Reproductive Health Act, garnered criticism from conservative politicians, though. The bill would have “enshrine[d] in state law existing federal protections for abortion rights,” “shift[ed] the state’s abortion law from the criminal code to the health care laws,” and “[made] it clearer that licensed health care practitioners as well as physicians could perform abortions.” The Women’s Equality Act passed in 2015, minus the abortion bill.
However, a revised version of the Reproductive Health Act did pass in 2019. Cuomo legalized same-sex marriage in 2011, four years before the Supreme Court made it the law of the land.
5. He was in two high-profile relationships. Cuomo was married to Kerry Kennedy, RFK‘s daughter, in 1990. They have three daughters together: twins Cara and Mariah, 25, and Michaela, 22. They divorced in 1995. Cuomo began dating Food Network star Sandra Lee in 2006. The couple moved in together in 2011, and never married — a bit scandalous, considering he’s a devout Catholic. They announced their breakup in September 2019.