New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo fired back at a lengthy report of sexual harassment allegations, and what happened was… yikes. To get up to speed here in a slightly breezy (although hopefully still appropriate) manner, the New York Attorney General’s office released a 165-page report that detailed sexual harassment allegations from nearly a dozen women (at least 9 of which were state employees) against Cuomo. One of those women was a state trooper (who was tasked as part of Cuomo’s security detail) who alleged that he inappropriately touched her “in an elevator,” where he “ran his finger from her neck down her spine.” In another instance, Cuomo allegedly “took his open hand and ran it across her stomach.”
In response to all of the women’s allegations, Cuomo released a video statement (click here to watch the full event on YouTube) in very swift order to counter the NY AG’s conclusion that he facilitated a toxic workplace, which allowed “harassment to occur and created a hostile work environment.” In doing so, he essentially gaslighted multiple accusers (by name) on national TV while claiming that he didn’t commit any of the alleged acts, and he suggested that people were misremembering moments and assigning wrong intentions on his behalf. The most bizarre portion of the video statement, however, was a montage of him touching and kissing people. It rolls out like an ill-advised effort to defend himself as a touchy-feely-kind-of guy. Not a good look!
Via the Recount on Twitter, here’s that montage, which includes a photo of Cuomo with, uh, Bill Clinton.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo really thought a montage of him touching and kissing people's face was the best way to rebut the damning and credible report of sexual harassment allegations. pic.twitter.com/Ntjak7xrJI
— The Recount (@therecount) August 3, 2021
Cuomo, in denying the groping of anyone, also made this declaration:
“I do kiss people on the forehead. I do kiss people on the cheek. I do kiss people on the hand. I do embrace people. I do hug people. Men and women. I do on occasion say ‘ciao bella.’ On occasion, I do slip and say ‘sweetheart’ or ‘darling’ or ‘honey.’ I do banter with people. I do tell jokes, some better than others. I am the same person in public as I am in private.”
Well, no one can figure out why anyone thought this was a fantastic idea. It feels like the pinnacle of gaslighting, and think of the poor staffer who was directed to put this montage together. Naturally, people were absolutely beside themselves while reacting to this disastrous idea.
Andrew Cuomo really thought this montage was a good idea pic.twitter.com/yTzzP9mdaD
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) August 3, 2021
Chuck Todd just had to point out that the montage of Cuomo touching people was made by the governor’s office and not B-roll from MSNBC. What a time to be alive
— Jake Lahut (@JakeLahut) August 3, 2021
Trump releases a “highly respected” statement about someone as Cuomo is giving speech with a photo montage of him kissing both men and women. And it’s only 1:15 pm
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 3, 2021
Can you imagine the Cuomo staffer who got the "I need you to compile a montage of photos of me touching & kissing people" phone call
— Adam Blickstein (@AdamBlickstein) August 3, 2021
After the copious gaslighting, bizarre photo montage and other cringey denials, Cuomo pivots to a utilitarian argument on why he should stay in power and reverts to playing the COVID hits… Hard to imagine how that could’ve gone any worse.
— Jake Lahut (@JakeLahut) August 3, 2021
OMFG. Seriously? Cuomo showing a montage of him kissing people as proof that he doesn’t sexually harass is an extension of ‘I’m not racist, I have a black friend’ ‘I’m not transphobic, I go to pride’ or ‘I can’t be a misogynist, I’m married.’ The gaslighting is so strong.
— LizWelch (@LizWelchLive) August 3, 2021
SNL can replicate the Cuomo kissing montage but it can never improve upon it, so don't even try.
— Bradford William Davis (@BWDBWDBWD) August 3, 2021
I did not have "Andrew Cuomo creating a montage of pictures of his parents touching and kissing his face to explain why he sexually harassed women" on my 2021 bingo card.
— Nicholas Hautman (@nickhautman) August 3, 2021
Cuomo response to sexual harassment findings is definitely pre-taped.
Complete with photo montage "super cuts" to somehow excuse the behavior.
Not sure this is helping the case.
— Ben Kallos (@kallos) August 3, 2021
You can watch Cuomo’s full statement below, courtesy of PBS NewsHour on YouTube.