New York state legislators ask wrong group to rescind Gov. Cuomo’s Emmy

getty: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D)

Several New York state lawmakers want to have the Emmy awarded to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) for his COVID-19 press conferences rescinded, but sent their request to the wrong organization.

Assemblyman Chris Tague led the effort and was the first of 20 Republicans to sign a letter sent to the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences asking it to rescind the Emmy Cuomo was given last November. Tague said no Democrats were part of the effort, and he was not aware of any similar action by New York state senators.

“I am hopeful you will vacate the Emmy [Cuomo] was given for these briefings to show him and the public that the actions he took to try to cover-up [sic] one of the most terrible tragedies our state has seen will not go without consequences,” the letter sent on Wednesday stated, in part.

The letter, however, was sent to the wrong organization. The assemblymen addressed it to Adam Sharp, the president and CEO of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, or NATAS.

But Cuomo’s Emmy was handed out by the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, or IATAS, a separate group. IATAS did not immediately comment on the letter, which Tague said was his idea. But an official with NATAS confirmed the group had nothing to do with Cuomo’s Emmy.

Tague was unfazed by the error.

“I was not aware there was a difference,” Tague said. “If we find out it was the international [group] instead of national we’ll send the same letter to those folks as well. To me, I just don’t understand why someone that’s a public servant doing their job, why they should be rewarded with something we give to actors and actresses.”

Sharp responded Thursday to the assemblymen’s letter by addressing Tague and thanking him for the request before pointing out that membership of NATAS only includes “television broadcasters and video creators in New York State.”

Cuomo’s Emmy, Sharp added, came from IATAS “and all decisions regarding its annual Founders Award are its alone. Please share this clarification with your Assembly colleagues.”

In the statement accompanying the Emmy award in November, Cuomo was credited for the COVID-19 briefings, specifically his “masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world” during the spread of COVID-19 in New York, which experienced some of the worst effects of the pandemic.

When the award was announced, Tague described it as an unremarkable political stunt meant to raise Cuomo’s national prominence.

“I didn’t think he was deserving of an Emmy,” Tague said at the time. “But I didn’t think it was a big deal.”

But in the light of revelations that Cuomo’s administration may have downplayed the extent of outbreaks in the state’s nursing homes — and is now under investigation by federal authorities for its handling of the crisis — Tague now says “I do think it’s a big deal.”

“We’re now coming to find out that some of the information being discussed in his briefings may be discredited,” Tague added. “And why would we give somebody celebrity status or give them notoriety for covering something up: the deaths of 15,000 New Yorkers. Which, I think, when we get things sorted out, the number will probably be higher.”

A Cuomo spokesperson described the letter as a waste of time, given that New York is still dealing with the pandemic.

“While these politicians might have enough free time to write blustery letters and issue self-important press releases, our focus remains squarely on vaccinating as many people as humanly possible and leading the state through this public health crisis,” said Jack Sterne, an administration spokesperson, in an emailed statement. “New Yorkers have seen the Governor show up and fight on their behalf every day for nearly a year, and that’s why they support his actions to defeat COVID-19 by a large margin.”

Updated at 4:10 p.m.


Tags Andrew Cuomo Chris Tague covid-19 press conferences Emmy Award IATAS International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences NATAS National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences New York
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