Cynthia Nixon Protests ‘Notoriously Sexist’ Room Temperature for Cuomo Debate

Cynthis Nixon, Andrew Cuomo
Associated Press

Cynthia Nixon’s campaign has requested that the temperature of the venue for her debate with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo be set at 76 degrees.

Nixon campaign senior advisor Rebecca Katz told WCBS-TV that because work environments are “notoriously sexist when it comes to temperature,” they “just want to make sure we’re all on the same page here.” They have already been vocal about a perceived bias toward New York Governor Cuomo.

A statement posted to Nixon’s website said that “CBS management has acknowledged that the only way to get Governor Cuomo to show up is by giving him everything he wants,” and that in the lead-up to the debate, they “weren’t even given a seat at the table.”

The statement said that the debate was presented as a “take-it-or-leave-it” scenario, “at Andrew Cuomo’s chosen location and TV station, in his preferred format, with a favorable audience, and on a date in the last week of August when a minimum of New Yorkers will be watching.”

Cuomo is also famously particular about temperature, preferring room to move in a space that feels — as Elizabeth Harris noted in 2011 — like “a meat locker.” She advised anyone attending a Cuomo event “take a coat, or maybe a blanket.”

Social media reaction to the news widely varied, from supportive to aghast. Even Cuomo’s campaign got in on the action:

But Nixon senior adviser L. Joy Williams offered a rebuttal, suggesting that the campaign was just trying to haggle. “Maybe you say 76 degrees and get 65 degrees instead of freezing at 50,” she said.

Cuomo’s campaign denies making any requests regarding room temperature for the debate. “Unlike Cynthia Nixon, the governor has more important things to focus on than the temperature of a room,” said campaign spokesperson Lis Smith.

Nevertheless, Nixon’s campaign remains resolute. In their statement, the campaign said that “Cynthia will debate Governor Cuomo backwards and in high heels if she has to.” Nixon herself told Refinery29 “I’ll debate the governor in a parka if I have to because the people of New York deserve a debate, and insurgent, female candidates have a right to make their voices heard.”


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