A Democrat that is responsible for signing bills passed by the New York Legislature rejected sexual harassment allegations and suggested his behavior was hilarious.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo refused to acknowledge he crossed the line by allegedly asking former aide Lindsey Boylan to gamble, and remove an item of clothing each time she lost, during a homebound flight from Western New York state in 2017.
“To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable [when I asked to play strip poker,]” he said in a statement. “These are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to [and] that is why I have asked for an outside, independent review that looks at these allegations.”
Cuomo believes there is nothing wrong with openly bullying staff in front of others because it can be very entertaining.
“At work, sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny,” he said. “I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way—I do it in public and in private.”
The governor admitted he was a serial workplace bully who took great pleasure in humiliating staff and even multiple Assembly representatives.
“You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times,” he said. “I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married.”
He believes civil service would be an extremely boring job, if he did not keep stirring up trouble at the New York State Capitol building and while traveling on official business.
“I mean, no offense and [I] only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business,” he said.
The Democrat felt sorry for Boylan, her successor Charlotte Bennett, and a growing chorus of assembly representatives who complained about being mistreated.
“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,” he said. “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 also tried to explain his actions by suggesting he knew his alleged victims outside of work.
“I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm,” he said. “I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends.”
He then ordered Boylan, Bennett, and everyone else who complained about his behavior to stop resisting and simply tolerate it.
“My message to anyone doing that is you have misjudged what matters to me and my administration and you should stop now—period,” he said.