New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo repeatedly spoke out in support of women and backed a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment during the height of the #MeToo movement, even as state Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday that he sexually harassed multiple women during his time in office.
Cuomo is facing widespread calls to resign or be removed from office after James concluded he sexually harassed multiple women, including current and former state employees, from 2013 to 2020 in violation of state and federal law.
The state attorney general found that the governor engaged in “unwelcome and nonconsensual” touching and that he made numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that “created a hostile work environment” for women and fostered a culture “filled with fear and intimidation.”
Calls to impeach Cuomo poured in shortly after James released her findings. The governor, who has denied wrongdoing in the past, remained defiant in a public address after the report was released, stating that “the facts are much different than what has been portrayed.”
Now, the governor’s past condemnations of sexual harassment are coming back to haunt him.
“2017 brought a long overdue reckoning where the pervasive poison of workplace sexual harassment was exposed by brave women and men who said this ends now,” Cuomo tweeted on Jan. 2, 2018. “Our challenge in government is to turn society’s revulsion into reform. There must be zero tolerance for sexual harassment in any workplace, and we can and will end the secrecy and coercive practices that have enabled harassment for far too long.”
In March of that same year, Cuomo praised “women across the country” who “courageously speak out about facing sexual assault and harassment” in an email with the subject line “NY Stands with #MeToo,” Slate reported at the time.
Several months later in September, as then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was being considered for the high court, Cuomo called on then-President Trump to demand a polygraph from the judge over the sexual assault allegation from Christine Blasey Ford.
Cuomo himself repeatedly dodged questions about whether he would be willing to take a lie detector test during the attorney general’s investigation.
After Kavanaugh was ultimately confirmed, Cuomo called it “a sad day for this country” that “will haunt us for as long as he is on the court.”
“To Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and all survivors of sexual assault, we believe you and we will fight for you,” Cuomo said in an Oct. 6, 2018 press release.