The investigation found that the governor engaged in inappropriate touching and comments.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday denied his state attorney general’s findings that he sexually harassed women and fostered a toxic work environment, claiming his accusers had misinterpreted what he said were gestures and comments. good intention.
“I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” the governor said at a news conference Tuesday.
Hours earlier on Tuesday, New York Attorney General Tish James announced that an investigation by her office had found that the 11 women who claimed Cuomo harassed them were credible. The report found that Cuomo engaged in inappropriate touching, allegations the governor once again denied Tuesday, and that he made comments to the women that were offensive and sexual.
“I’m inspired by all the brave women who came forward,” James said at a news conference Tuesday morning, “but more importantly, I believe them and thank them for their bravery.”
Cuomo said Tuesday: “I kiss people on the forehead. I kiss people on the cheek. I kiss people on the hand. I hug people. I hug people. Men and women. Sometimes I say ‘ciao bella’. Sometimes I make a mistake and say “honey” or “honey” or “honey”. I joke with people. I tell jokes, some better than others. I am the same person in public as I am in private. “
The governor claimed that there are “generational or cultural perspectives” that he “had not fully appreciated” in his conduct.
The first sexual harassment allegation against Cuomo emerged in late 2020 when the New York governor was at the peak of his popularity, drawing a wave of praise for what was perceived at the time as his steadfast handling of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Finally, eleven women came forward to say that the governor acted inappropriately with them.
Cuomo has faced great pressure to resign since the indictments came out, and was asked by New York Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to resign in March. The governor has repeatedly denied the allegations and flatly denied requests for his resignation.
President Joe Biden told ABC News in March that Cuomo should resign if the investigation confirmed the women’s claims, adding that “I think he will probably end up being prosecuted as well.”
In his comment Tuesday after the investigation’s findings were released, Cuomo specifically mentioned the complaint by Charlotte Bennett, a woman who worked in his office, and said the governor made inappropriate comments about past sexual assaults. she. Cuomo said that this complaint “bothered [him] more”, because, he said, he had asked about her experience because a relative of his went through something similar.
“I was trying to make sure that she was making her way to the best of her ability,” he said.
“I listened to Charlotte and her attorney and I understand what they are saying, but they read the comments I made and reached conclusions that she never meant to say,” he said. “They attribute reasons that I never had. And simply put, they heard things that I just didn’t say. “
The governor also took a picture on the cover of the New York Times of him kissing a woman’s cheek at a wedding, saying that he has been making the same gesture for years and that he learned it from his parents. To prove the point, his office broadcast a slideshow of Cuomo kissing various people on the cheek.
Regarding an anonymous complaint that Cuomo groped a woman in his home office, he said it never happened and that his attorney suggested that he would sue for damages. “That will be decided in a court of law,” he said. “A newspaper judgment or biased criticism is not the way to find the facts in this matter. I appreciate the opportunity for a full and fair review before a judge and jury because this just didn’t happen. “
On the report’s findings that it fostered a toxic work environment, Cuomo said, “My office is not a typical 9-5 government office and I don’t want it to be.” He said his office environment is “demanding” and “not for everyone,” then added that complaints against managers show double standards.