State Watch

Cuomo accuser blasts governor's 'Trumpian gaslighting' over harassment allegations

Lindsey Boylan, the first woman who accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of sexual harassment, blasted the governor's "Trumpian gaslighting" after he defended himself during a COVID-19 briefing.

Boylan issued the statement after the briefing, during which Cuomo got into an exchange with a reporter about whether intention behind certain behaviors or actions don't matter in sexual harassment.

"The single most powerful man in New York is trying to play devil's advocate for himself, contradicting a bill that he himself signed into law," Boylan said.

The law she's referencing was signed in 2019, according to The New York Daily News. It eliminated a "severe or pervasive" standard that was once needed for harassment claims to be legally actionable. 

"From concealing nursing home deaths to denying multiple women's accounts of abuse, Governor Cuomo's Trumpian gaslighting sees new bounds seemingly every day as he attempts to re-write history and now re-write the law," Boylan continued. "We are tired. The women he abused are tired, but the governor's national microphone makes his message far more damaging than just to the people he has directly abused."

During the press conference on Thursday, Cuomo asserted that harassment is not "making someone feel uncomfortable."

"Harassment is not making someone feel uncomfortable. That is not harassment. If I just made you feel uncomfortable, that is not harassment, that is you feeling uncomfortable," he told a reporter.

Boylan accused Cuomo of kissing her without her consent and making inappropriate remarks while working in his office. But she wasn't the only accuser to respond to Cuomo's assertion.

An attorney for Charlotte Bennett said in a statement, "for someone who signed the law defining sexual harassment in New York State, and who claims to have taken the state's mandated sexual harassment training every year despite Ms. Bennett seeing someone else take it on his behalf, Gov. Cuomo continues to show an alarming degree of ignorance about what constitutes sexual harassment."

Bennett has said Cuomo asked about her sex life, including whether she was monogamous in her relationships and if she ever had sex with older men.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is currently investigating the allegations against Cuomo, which he has denied.

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