New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reportedly brushed off accusations of sexual harassment against him as mere "playful" and "good-natured" remarks he made to enliven their "very serious business" at work.
The Blaze reported that Cuomo said last Sunday in a statement that his "playful banter" was "misinterpreted" by his two accusers Charlotte Bennett and Lindsey Boylan and that he "never intended to offend anyone" with it.
In his statement, Cuomo started off to explain his side due to questions raised about his "past interactions with people" that "New Yorkers deserve answers to."
"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," he said.
"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. I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times," he pointed out. "I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean 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. 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," he stressed.
Cuomo also clarified that he "never inappropriately touched anybody," "never propositioned anybody," and "never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable." He revealed that he has asked "for an outside, independent review" to look into the said allegations against him. He also asked people who reach out to Bennett "to express displeasure about her coming forward" to "stop now-period" for they "have misjudged what matters" to him and his "administration."
The Blaze revealed that Bennett, the 25-year-old staff and second complainant, claimed that Cuomo asked her if she was monogamous during her relationships, if she was romantically involved with someone, and if she "had ever been with an older man." Cuomo also suggested to her that she get tattoos on her buttocks so that when she wore a dress it won't be seen.
Boylan, on the other hand, is the first woman to expose Cuomo on his usual behavior towards women at work and said that the harassment has been going on for years. She actually invited other women to come into the open and join her to put an end to Cuomo's bad behavior.
As per The Blaze, Cuomo originally appointed U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones to undertake the independent investigation on the sexual harassment allegations against him. However, the governor ceased doing so to avoid being construed as conflict of interest since Jones is a former law partner of Steven Cohen, Cuomo's closest advisor.
He then asked New York State Attorney General Letitia James and Court of Appeals Chief Judge Janet DiFiore to select the independent lawyer to review the allegations. James and DiFiore then chose Federal Judge Barbara Jones who is known for her "stellar record for qualifications and integrity" to handle the review, The Blaze stated.
More recently, another woman -the third to come out-- accused the Democrat governor of being too touchy, of holding her by the cheeks, and asking if he could kiss her, The Blaze reported. The woman, a former Obama administration employee and Biden 2020 campaign staffer named Anna Ruch, said the incident happened during a wedding in September of 2019.
Ruch said she was shocked and didn't have any words to say in response to Cuomo's alleged behavior at the time. A photo shared on social media, however, clearly indicates that she didn't like what happened.
— Jodi Kantor (@jodikantor) March 2, 2021