In mid-December, a former adviser to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) alleged that he had sexually harassed her while she worked for him.
The woman, Lindsey Boylan tweeted that Cuomo “sexually harassed me for years,” adding that “many saw it, and watched” and that she “could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks.”
“Not knowing what to expect what’s the most upsetting part aside from knowing that no one would do a damn thing even when they saw it. No one. And I *know* I am not the only woman,” she continued. “I’m angry to be put in this situation at all. That because I am a woman, I can work hard my whole life to better myself and help others and yet still fall victim as countless women over generations have. Mostly silently. I hate that some men, like @NYGovCuomo abuse their power.”
Boylan made her allegations at a time when Cuomo was viewed by many in the Democratic Party as a potential pick for President Joe Biden’s Attorney General, The Daily Wire reported at the time.
Cuomo denied the allegations, saying simply: “Yeah, I heard about the tweet and what it said about comments that I had made and it’s not true. Look, I fought for and I believe a woman has the right to come forward and express her opinion and express issues and concerns that she has, but it’s just not true.”
The media dropped the story quickly, something that would not have occurred had the allegations been made against a Republican.
On Wednesday, Boylan wrote a lengthy article on Medium detailing her allegations against Cuomo, beginning with a suggestion the government made while the two were on his taxpayer-funded jet in which he suggested they play “strip poker.”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking,” Boylan said she responded, claiming her statement was made “sarcastically and awkwardly” and that she “tried to play it cool.”
“Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected. His inappropriate behavior toward women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you must be doing something right. He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would face consequences,” Boylan wrote.
Boylan said she decided to come forward on December 13 after another former staffer confided in her that she had also been sexually harassed by Cuomo. She said the harassment began shortly after her first encounter with Cuomo, when she was “surprised by how much attention he paid me.” Boylan said her boss then informed her that Cuomo had a “crush” on her because she looked so much like his rumored former girlfriend Lisa Shields, even calling Boylan by Lisa’s name in front of coworkers.
“He said look up Lisa Shields. You could be sisters. Except you’re the better looking sister,” Boylan’s boss wrote to her in an email, a screenshot of which was included in Boylan’s article.
Boylan said she complained to friends about Cuomo constantly touching her on her “lower back, arms and legs.” She said his “senior staff began keeping tabs” on her whereabouts. She included screenshots of a text message exchange she shared with her mother in November 2016 detailing a particular instance of what she says is sexual harassment.
She claimed that Cuomo apparently left a government party in December 2016 to show her around his office. She claimed she avoided him when he was shaking hands, but “minutes later” she received a call from the governor’s body man, who took her to the Hall of Governors and into Cuomo’s office. He came in the room and began noting various things to her, one of which was a cigar box he said was given to him by former President Bill Clinton while Cuomo was the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. As Boylan noted, the “two-decade old reference to President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky was not lost on me.”
She said Cuomo gave roses to female staffers on Valentine’s Day and gave her a signed photograph of himself, which was left in her office while she was not there. She claims she was promoted to Deputy Secretary for Economic Development and Special Advisor to the Governor, but she tried to turn it down to stay away from Cuomo, but she eventually accepted the promotion with the stipulation that her office remain far from the governor and his inner circle.
Boylan said the harassment was mostly words until one day after a one-on-one briefing with Cuomo where he allegedly kissed her on the lips. She said she worried people would think she only received her position because of Cuomo’s “crush” on her. She said she started speaking up and was then ostracized by the women on Cuomo’s senior team.
Boylan finally resigned on September 26, 2018.
She said that since she came forward in December, two other women have reached out with their own stories of sexual harassment from Cuomo.
“I am speaking up because I have the privilege to do so when many others do not. No one should have to be defined or destroyed by this kind of sexual harassment. Nor should they be revictimized if they decide to speak their own truth,” Boylan concluded.