New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has been hit with allegations of sexual harassment from two former aides who worked in his administration.
According to Politico, Cuomo responded to the allegations in a press release on Sunday, but many aren’t satisfied with what seemed like a half-hearted apology.
Cuomo’s statement began: “Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with people in the office. I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends.”
“I think I am being playful”
The governor went on to defend his behavior, saying, “At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good-natured way.”
Cuomo insisted that he intended “no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.”
“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended,” Cuomo said.
Lindsey Boylan, the first woman to come forward with claims of sexual harassment against the governor, said in a post published to Medium on Wednesday that Cuomo kissed her without her permission and asked her to play strip poker on a private plane ride.
On Saturday, news broke that another former aide, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett, had also accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. Bennett said the governor asked her detailed questions about her sex life, inquired about past sexual assault she had endured, and remarked that he was “open” to dating someone in their 20s.
De Blasio blasts Cuomo
“I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that,” the governor said in his satetment. “I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to. That’s why I have asked for an outside, independent review that looks at these allegations.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said he was “sickened” by the allegations, blasted Cuomo for his response. “Who the hell tries to explain that by saying, ‘I was just joking around’?” the Democrat said in an interview on New York’s Hot 97 on Monday, the New York Post reported.
“That even further confirms a mindset from a whole other time that we have left behind,” the mayor continued. “There may be more stories like it, and everyone should come forward, because we’ve got to know the truth.”
On Sunday, New York Attorney General Letitia James called for an “independent investigation with subpoena power” into the allegations.