On Saturday, two more former aides alleged sexual misconduct against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
A former press aide to the New York governor, Karen Hinton, told the Washington Post that after a work event in 2000, Cuomo summoned her into his “dimly lit” hotel room and embraced her twice.
Hinton stated that she pulled away from Cuomo. However, the governor pulled her back towards his body, holding her in an embrace before she backed out of the room. In response to this, Cuomo’s director of communications, Peter Ajemian, aggressively denied the allegations in a statement to the New York Post.
More ex-aides accuse @NYGovCuomo of sexual misconduct, reportedly inviting one to 'dimly lit hotel room' https://t.co/PorAe4VO5U
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 7, 2021
Ajemian said, “This did not happen.” He added, “Karen Hinton is a known antagonist of the Governor’s who is attempting to take advantage of this moment to score cheap points with made-up allegations from 21 years ago. All women have the right to come forward and tell their story — however, it’s also the press’s responsibility to consider self-motivation. This is reckless.”
In response to the denial that was set forth by Cuomo’s office, Hinton said, “attacking the accuser is the classic playbook of powerful men trying to protect themselves.”
At the same time, another former aide, Anna Liss, stated that when she worked for Cuomo as a policy and operations aide from the year 2013 to 2015, Cuomo asked her if she had a boyfriend. The governor then allegedly touched her on her lower back and kissed her hand as she rose from her desk.
Liss also stated that at first she thought Cuomo’s flirtations were harmless. However, over time she comes to see them as patronizing. She said it diminished her from an educated professional to “just a skirt.”
The former aide said, “It’s not appropriate, really, in any setting.”
In an interview with the WSJ, Ms. Liss said she initially perceived Mr. Cuomo’s conduct as harmless flirtations. Over time, she said, she has come to see it as patronizing, and she added it diminished her from an educated professional to “just a skirt.”https://t.co/8fXbO0rDwI
— Jimmy Vielkind (@JimmyVielkind) March 7, 2021
Cuomo’s spokesperson, Richard Azzopardi, responded to Liss’s allegations and told The Wall Street Journal: “Reporters and photographers have covered the governor for 14 years watching him kiss men and women and posing for pictures. At the public open-house mansion reception, there are hundreds of people, and he poses for hundreds of pictures. That’s what people in politics do.”
Lindsey Boylan, the first woman who publicly came out and alleged Cuomo of repeated sexual misconduct, stated that she is “very proud” of Liss for coming forward and telling her story.
Boylan wrote on Twitter, “I am very proud of Ana Liss. She is brave and she speaks for me too.” She added, “‘I just wish—I wish that @NYGovCuomo took me seriously,’ she said. It’s extremely destructive that our boss, the governor of New York, treated us this way.”
She added in a subsequent tweet, “Resign you disgusting monster, @NYGovCuomo.”
To add more into the fire, two male aides told The Post that Cuomo routinely used explicit language to berate them. The male aides said that Cuomo called them “pussies” and says, “you have no balls.”
Two male aides said Cuomo called them “p*ssies” & said “you have no balls.” 3 female staffers say he quizzed them about their dating lives. “Toxic” “hostile” & “degrading” are descriptions of workplace under Cuomo. Reporting w/ @jdawsey1 & team. https://t.co/sq3w5EDD6S
— Amy Brittain (@AmyJBrittain) March 7, 2021
Hinton also said that the news conference of Cuomo this week, where the governor appeared sullen and apologetic when he talked about the allegations, “drove me crazy.” She said Cuomo knew better and that he was using flirtation in order to manipulate those around him.
She said, “I really thought the flirt wasn’t about having sex. It was about controlling the relationship.”
Last Wednesday, Cuomo said in his press conference, “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly, I am embarrassed by it.” Still, he vehemently denied ever touching anyone inappropriately.
In the days before the press conference, former aide, Lindsey Boylan, who in addition to accusing Cuomo of making repeated sexual innuendos to her, also accused Cuomo of kissing her on the lips and going “out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms, and legs.”
Another woman, Anna Ruch, claimed that Cuomo put his hands on her lower back and tried to kiss her at a wedding she attended in 2019.
In her first television interview, Charlotte Bennett, former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, discussed her accusations of sexual harassment against the governor.
Bennett told @NorahODonnell the governor asked her questions at work that made her “deeply uncomfortable.” pic.twitter.com/mAbCJeWQDT
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) March 5, 2021
Charlotte Bennett, a former staffer, also stepped forward, claiming that Cuomo had frequently talked about his eagerness to have relationships with women in their 20s.
However, Cuomo responded to these allegations by saying, “my usual, customary way of greeting.”
Cuomo said, “You can find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people men, women. It is my usual customary way of greeting. By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting the governor of this state.”