Cuomo accuser rejects his public apology in TV interview

05 March 2021 - 09:58
By Reuters
An electronic billboard displays a message that reads
Image: REUTERS/Mike Segar An electronic billboard displays a message that reads "Resign Now" for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in the wake of allegations that he sexually harassed young women, in Albany, New York, US, March 3, 2021.

The second of three women who have accused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual misconduct rejected his public apology on Thursday, a response likely to ratchet up pressure on the embattled Democrat.

Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former aide to Cuomo who has said the governor questioned her about her sex life with what she took as sexual overtones, made her comments in an interview broadcast by CBS News.

“It's not an apology. It's not an issue of my feelings. It's an issue of his actions. The fact is that he was sexually harassing me and he has not apologised for sexually harassing me and he can't even use my name,” Bennett said.

Three women including Bennett have come forward to accuse Cuomo, 63, of sexually harassing them or making inappropriate remarks. He has denied any misconduct and pledged to co-operate with a review by the state's attorney-general.

On Wednesday he offered a lengthy and sometimes emotional public apology, saying: “I feel awful about it and frankly I am embarrassed by it.”

Lindsey Boylan, a 36-year-old former Cuomo aide who first spoke out in December, has said the unwanted advances from the governor included an unsolicited kiss on the lips.

Boylan, a candidate for Manhattan borough president, also dismissed the governor's apology. “How can New Yorkers trust you @NYGovCuomo to lead our state if you “don't know” when you've been inappropriate with your own staff?” she wrote on Twitter.

The governor, who has rejected calls for his resignation that have come even from prominent Democratic state lawmakers, has also battled in recent weeks to respond to accusations that his administration sought to downplay the number of nursing home residents killed by Covid-19.

Bennett, a former executive assistant and health policy adviser, told the New York Times in February that Cuomo peppered her with questions about her romantic life last year in what she viewed as an effort to have sex with her.

A third woman has told the New York Times that the governor made unwanted advances and physical contact after meeting her at a wedding in 2019.