New York City mayoral candidate and comptroller, Scott Stringer, was accused by a woman claiming to be a former intern at a press conference Wednesday of nonconsensual contact, including groping and unwanted solicitations for sex.
Jean Kim, who says she interned for Stringer's 2001 campaign for New York City Public Advocate, said Wednesday that Stringer "repeatedly groped me," according to multiple news reports. The allegations were initially laid out in a press advisory sent Tuesday evening.
“During this campaign, I traveled back-and-forth to campaign events with him. Scott Stringer repeatedly groped me, put his hands on my thighs and between my legs and demanded to know why I wouldn’t have sex with him,” Kim told reporters on Wednesday, according to CBS 2.
"I never disclosed this before because I was fearful of his vindictive nature and that he would retaliate against me and destroy my career in politics," she continued.
Jean Kim, a woman who says she was an intern in @scottmstringer campaign for public advocate in 2001 is holding a press conference this AM to detail allegations of sexual harassment against Stringer.— Gloria Pazmino (@GloriaPazmino) April 28, 2021
This is a copy of the remarks she’s set to deliver, provided by her attorney: pic.twitter.com/akw6jIvWWd
In a statement following the news conference Wednesday, Stringer said that Kim's accusations were "untrue and do not reflect my interactions with anyone, including any woman or member of my staff.”
Stringer also addressed the allegations personally at a press conference Wednesday afternoon, claiming that Kim had never interned on his campaign but had instead been a "friend" and "active supporter."
“I remember Ms. Kim well. And these are the facts: I met Jean in the late 1990s. She supported and donated to my campaign for public advocate, beginning as early as 1999,” he said, according to the New York Daily News. “She was a peer. She was not — absolutely not — an intern on the campaign. Our internship program was made up of college students. She was not part of that.”
His rivals in the hotly contested mayor's race issued statements following Kim's news conference, with at least one, sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia, calling for him to drop out of the race.
"Scott Stringer should stand by his own policy of zero tolerance for sexual harassment and drop out of the mayoral race," she said.
I stand with Jean Kim and commend her bravery in coming forward. We must take these allegations seriously. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/IeJHs0L1gW— Kathryn Garcia (@KGforNYC) April 28, 2021
Maya Wiley, an activist and former chair of the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board, added in her own statement that "the people of New York just deserve better than this," while not specifically calling for him to drop out.
Scott Stringer must immediately account for this abuse. Read my full statement: pic.twitter.com/wQ3MyojcgR— Maya Wiley (@mayawiley) April 28, 2021
Dianne Morales, a nonprofit executive, said in a statement that her campaign was not focused on the allegations against Stringer while adding that she stood with Kim's call for justice.
I stand with and support Jean Kim. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/e7TG0LJRAW— Dianne Morales for NYC Mayor☀️ (@Dianne4NYC) April 28, 2021
In a second statement about the allegations against Stringer issued late Thursday evening, Morales said that Stringer should "withdraw from the mayoral race and resign" as the city's comptroller.
Attorney Aaron Foldenauer, another candidate for New York City mayor, took it a step further in a statement calling for Stringer's departure from the race that also blasted Wiley, Morales, and another candidate, Eric Adams, for their initial statements that did not demand Stringer drop out.
"Adams, Wiley, and Morales are all part of the clubby world of New York City politics. Now that the allegations have hit close to home, these other candidates have abandoned survivors like Jean Kim in order to protect Scott Stringer and their fellow members of the political establishment," he accused.
--Updated at 12:15 a.m. on 4/30.