- Lawmakers are calling on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign following sexual harassment allegations.
- Two former staffers alleged Cuomo made unwanted advances towards them at work.
- A third woman said Cuomo inappropriately touched her and asked to kiss her at a wedding.
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Lawmakers are calling on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign after three women alleged he made unwanted sexual advances towards them.
Two former staffers accused Cuomo of unwanted sexual advances over the weekend.
On Friday, Lindsey Boylan said that Cuomo made unwanted sexual advances toward her. She resigned in 2018 after the governor kissed her on the lips without her consent. On Saturday, Charlotte Bennett said that Cuomo asked her inappropriate questions and also made unwanted sexual advances toward her.
On Monday, another woman, Anna Ruch, told The New York Times that she met Cuomo at a wedding in September 2019. He allegedly placed a hand on her bare lower back and called her ‘aggressive’ when she removed it. Ruch said Cuomo then placed his hands on her cheeks and asked if he could kiss her.
Following the news of Ruch’s allegations, Rep. Kathleen Rice, a Democrat, called on Cuomo to step down. She is the first Democrat in New York’s congressional delegation to do so.
“The time has come. The Governor must resign,” Rice wrote in a tweet.
Biaggi, who worked in Cuomo’s Counsel’s Office focusing on the New York State’s women’s policy agenda prior to her election, called Cuomo’s behavior “unacceptable.”
“As a New Yorker, a legislator, Chair of the Senate Ethics and Internal Governance Committee, and a survivor of sexual abuse, I am calling for Governor Cuomo to resign,” Biaggi said in a statement.
She told MSNBC that while she did not personally experience harassment herself, Biaggi described Cuomo’s office as having a “pervasive culture of fear” and called it an “abusive and toxic workplace environment.”
New York Assemblymembers Angelo Santabarbara and Phil Steck, both Democrats, also called on Cuomo to resign.
“No surprise to see the Governor quickly trying to interfere with this investigation after his ‘apology’ – this abuse of power will only continue and further distract from our work at the State Capitol. I firmly believe the Governor’s resignation would be for the good of our state,” Santabarbara wrote in a tweet.
On Sunday, Cuomo issued a statement and said his behavior towards women had been “misinterpreted as unwanted flirtation.”
He said he teased people about their personal lives but never propositioned or inappropriately touched anyone.
Cuomo added: “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.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was “not an apology.”
“He seemed to be saying, ‘Aw, I was just kidding around,'” de Blasio said. “Sexual harassment isn’t funny. It’s serious and it has to be taken seriously.”