New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is the latest Democrat to publicly denounce Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who is facing fallout over allegations of sexual harassment from two women, slamming the Democrat governor for issuing what he described as a non-apology.
WATCH: Mayor Bill de Blasio slams Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "apology" after sexual harassment allegations. pic.twitter.com/BLeYhinIMN
— Forbes (@Forbes) March 1, 2021
“He seemed to be saying, ‘Oh, I was just kidding around.’ You know, sexual harassment is not funny. It’s serious. It has to be taken seriously. And he just, clearly, was letting himself off the hook for something that, for the women involved, sounded pretty terrifying,” the mayor continued.
Cuomo released a statement on Sunday following a second woman accusing the governor of sexually harassing her. According to Charlotte Bennett, who previously served as a health policy adviser in his administration, Cuomo asked her inappropriate questions about her private life, including if she had sex with older men.
“I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends,” Cuomo said in a statement, explaining that he sometimes remains playful and jovial, making jokes that he believes are funny, in both public and private life.
“I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good-natured way. I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times,” he said.
“I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business,” he continued, explaining that his interactions “may have been insensitive or too personal.”
“I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that,” he said.
“To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to,” Cuomo added, requesting an independent review of the allegations.
The mayor called for a full investigation as well but stressed that the nursing home scandal cannot be swept under the rug, either.
“Both these issues need to be looked into independently, thoroughly, and we need to know what has to change as a result,” he said.
“So again, full investigation,” the mayor added. “We’ve got to understand what happened here. Anything like that, if someone purposely tried to use their power to force a woman to have sex with them, of course, that’s someone who should no longer be in public service.”