Former Cuomo Aide Accuses Him of Sexual Harassment, Alleges His Female Staffers Normalized His Behavior
Karen Hinton, Cuomo’s former press secretary at HUD, also wrote about his domineering attitude over women.
Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has accused him of sexual harassment during her time in his office between 2015 and 2018.
Boylan’s post comes out as a former employee to Cuomo, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote about her time with the two men.
Boylan tweeted out the accusations in December and claimed his administration tried to discredit her.
She admitted they would probably do it again, but strengthened her case with screenshots of emails and texts.
Cuomo made Boylan uneasy from their first meeting in January 2016:
My boss soon informed me that the Governor had a “crush” on me. It was an uncomfortable but all-too-familiar feeling: the struggle to be taken seriously by a powerful man who tied my worth to my body and my appearance.
Stephanie Benton, Director of the Governor’s Offices, told me in an email on December 14, 2016 that the Governor suggested I look up images of Lisa Shields — his rumored former girlfriend — because “we could be sisters” and I was “the better looking sister.” The Governor began calling me “Lisa” in front of colleagues. It was degrading.
But it was a reference to a cigar box in December 2016 that sparked fear in Boylan:
I was escorted into the Governor’s office, past the desks of administrative assistants and into a room with a large table and historical artifacts. The door closed behind me. It was my first time in his Albany office. The Governor entered the room from another door. We were alone.
As he showed me around, I tried to maintain my distance. He paused at one point and smirked as he showed off a cigar box. He told me that President Clinton had given it to him while he served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The two-decade old reference to President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky was not lost on me.
The Governor must have sensed my fear because he finally let me out of the office. I tried to rationalize this incident in my head. At least he didn’t touch me. That made me feel safer.
Boylan received her promotion to deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to Cuomo in 2018, but only accepted if she could keep her old office and stay on a different floor.
Boylan also listed the disgusting behavior towards her and other women:
- Roses to females on Valentine’s Day
- Sent her a bouquet, the only one on her floor.
- Signed picture in her closed-door office
- Unflattering comments about females’ weight
- Made fun of their love lives
Then one day, Cuomo kissed Boylan on the lips. That was the last straw, and she began to speak up for herself.
But Boylan defending herself caused a rift within her senior team. The women “grew hostile” while aides told her “to get in line.”
Boylan could not believe that his top female aides, including secretary Melissa DeRosa, normalized his behavior.
Recently, Cuomo has shown his bullying side after a report came out of DeRosa apologizing to Democratic lawmakers for fudging the nursing home death numbers.
Anyone who has come out against him, especially Assemblyman Ron Kim, has received harsh tongue-lashings from Cuomo. He ignores The New York Post, makes snide remarks about others, blames everyone but himself for his failed policies, etc.
De Blasio described it as typical Cuomo bullying.
Boylan said that two women talked to her after her tweets in December. Will more women come forward?
Karen Hinton worked as a press secretary for Cuomo when he worked in HUD and the same position for de Blasio.
The recent spate of stories about Gov. Cuomo’s penchant for bullying isn’t about behavior that’s unusual in politics. It’s the norm. Andrew, with whom I had a decades-long professional relationship, isn’t the only practitioner of what I call “penis politics.” He just happens to be the master of the art, a subject I am writing a book about.
In Washington, he’d given me a job in 1995 and then worked to undermine me in it. Day to day, he made me feel as if I were no good at my job and thus totally dependent on him to keep it. In Cuomo’s world — and he would never admit this even to himself — working for him is like a 1950′s version of marriage. He always, always, always comes first. Everyone and everything else — your actual spouse, your children, your own career goals — is secondary. Your focus 24 hours a day is on him.
If you need more time with your own family, he will treat you like you are cheating on him. If you have your eye on another, better job, he’ll try to make that job disappear. Escaping Cuomo is tough because he has to exercise total control.
Cuomo once told her that she couldn’t “lead the public affairs office for him” because she “had only worked for a ‘Black man from a small town in Mississippi.'”
Racist much? It didn’t matter to him that the “Black man” was Mike Epsy. He made history as the “first Black congressman from Mississippi since Reconstruction.”
De Blasio was no better as a boss:
Mayor de Blasio, for whom I also worked and knew for 25 years, both at HUD and as New York City mayor, practices a different brand of penis politics. His charming, easygoing personality he had when we worked together in the federal government gave way to a hectoring, inflexible approach that bordered on sanctimony when I was his press secretary at City Hall.
His signature move as mayor was to dig in on an untenable position against the advice of staff, raising the cost of an inevitable defeat. Discussions with staff were marked by condescension, leaving the female staffers feeling especially marginalized. It made for an uncomfortable work environment.
Here’s the mic drop. It shouldn’t shock anyone that Bill Clinton is involved:
Silence and penis politics often go hand in hand. In 1998 at HUD, I spoke up about a clumsy pick-up attempt Bill Clinton made on me when I was a 26-year-old campaign operative and he was governor of Arkansas. It cost me a Senate-confirmed appointment when Cuomo quietly had the White House pull my nomination. It was penis politics again in 2015, when Cuomo and his “sources” threw bombs at me (and for a while, I threw them back) and then again when de Blasio made it impossible for me to do my job by invalidating what I said to the press on his behalf.
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