New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo fundraised off of the #MeToo movement in 2018, the same year his former adviser Lindsey Boylan resigned from her position, a decision she now chalks up to sexual harassment and unwanted touching by the governor starting in 2016.
“I had complained to friends that the Governor would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs. His senior staff began keeping tabs on my whereabouts. ‘He is a sexist pig and you should avoid being alone with him!’ my mother texted me on November 4, 2016,” Boylan said in a statement earlier in February.
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In 2018, Cuomo faced criticism for fundraising off of the #MeToo movement after knowingly hiring senior aide Sam Hoyt following Hoyt’s extramarital affair with a 19-year-old intern.
Hoyt, a former Democratic New York state lawmaker, resigned from his position at Empire State Development, the state’s economic development public-benefit organization, amid an investigation into one woman’s sexual harassment claims in 2017, Politico reported. Hoyt’s sexually charged message to the intern he had an affair with had been public since 2008.
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Months later, liberal-leaning outlet Slate called out Cuomo for capitalizing on support for the #MeToo movement in a fundraising email in early 2018.
Cuomo praised “women across the country” who “courageously speak out about facing sexual assault and harassment” in an email with the subject line “NY Stands with #MeToo,” Slate reported.
Shortly after Hoyt’s resignation in 2017, Cuomo got into a spat with a reporter pressing him about whether his office was taking steps to curb sexual harassment in state government. Cuomo accused the reporter, a woman, of doing “a disservice to women” by asking the question.
“We’ll have policies in state government obviously, that affects state government, but I think you miss the point. When you say it’s state government, you do a disservice to women, with all due respect, even though you’re a woman. It’s not government; it’s society. It was Harvey Weinstein in the arts industry, it’s comedians, it’s politicians, it’s chefs, right? It’s systemic, it’s societal, it’s not one person in one area,” Cuomo told NPR journalist Karen DeWitt.
“But can you just name one thing?” DeWitt asked.
“No,” Cuomo said.
Boylan claims she resigned on Sept. 26, 2018, shortly after an unwanted kiss from Cuomo. Cuomo’s office denied Boylan’s harassment claims, calling them “simply false.”
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She is one of many Democrats running for Manhattan borough president in 2021. Boylan also ran against Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., in New York’s 10th Congressional District this year but lost by more than 40 points, according to Ballotpedia.
In addition, a second former aide to Cuomo has come forward with allegations of sexual harassment.