The Downfall of Former NY Governor Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo, was the Democratic Governor of New York for the past decade, until a recent scandal prompted his resignation. In the past few years, Cuomo used his political platform to advocate for the #MeToo movement and signed legislation to protect women in New York. However, the former governor’s reputation as a feminist ally came crashing down last month, when a state investigation revealed that he sexually harassed almost a dozen of women.
The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, led the investigation which resulted in a 165-page report detailing Cuomo’s inappropriate encounters with 11 women. The findings revealed that, among those harassed, 9 are current and former New York State employees, and 1 is a New York State Trooper.
Lindsey Boylan, Cuomo’s former administrative aide, was the first woman to bravely speak out against him in December 2020. She claimed that Cuomo verbally harassed, groped, and kissed her on multiple occasions over the course of 3 years. After Boylan spoke out, 10 more women courageously came forward with similar stories of sexual misconduct perpetrated by the former governor. Cuomo was accused of asking sexually intrusive questions, making sexually suggestive comments and unwanted advances, and non-consensual touching. Several women, including Boylan, quit their jobs after Cuomo victimized them.
In response to Boylan’s initial claims, Cuomo vehemently denied any suggestion of sexual harassment. In an attempt to salvage his reputation, the governor and his employees went as far to discredit her and portray her negatively in the media. However, Cuomo was forced to take accountability when the attorney general’s office released their investigative report along with the other 10 victims disclosing their testimonies.
Amid the allegations, Attorney General James and other prominent politicians began urging for Cuomo to resign from his position. The political backlash was bipartisan, with both Democratic and Republican officials condemning Mr. Cuomo for creating an unsafe work environment for women. President Biden, a longtime supporter of Cuomo, also suggested that he should immediately resign.
As a result, the 63-year-old Democrat announced that he would be stepping down. Nonetheless, he maintained that the accusations were untruthful, unfair, and politically motivated to sabotage him. Furthermore, Cuomo claimed that the encounters were simply misunderstandings and chalked up his actions to so-called “cultural and generational differences.” Despite his continuous efforts to prove his innocence, Mr. Cuomo resigned to avoid further political unrest. Many have criticized him for defiantly challenging his accusers despite his public record as a #MeToo supporter and women's advocate.
In the past few years, the #MeToo movement has helped shed light on the prevalence of sex crimes committed by men in positions of power. Andrew Cuomo’s personal #MeToo scandal signifies the downfall of his career and his family’s legacy. His late father, Mario Cuomo, was New York Governor in the 1980s and 1990s, and his younger brother, Chris Cuomo, also holds a political career.
Upon Cuomo’s resignation, he was replaced by former member of Congress, Kathy Hochul. Hochul, once a firm supporter of Cuomo's accusers, is now the first female governor of New York State. Former governor Cuomo is currently under criminal investigation for his misconduct, which can hopefully yield more justice for his victims.