Italian Americans Outraged Over Andrew Cuomo Dismissing his Behavior as Cultural: ‘My Nonna Would Have Beat his Ass with a Wooden Spoon’

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo prepares to march in the Columbus Day Parade in New York, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. Approximately 35,000 marchers participated in the annual celebration of Italian-American culture. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Italian Americans were outraged to hear embattled soon-to-be former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) dismissing his behavior that led to his resignation as “cultural.” One Twitter user called the governor’s excuse “disgusting,” adding, “my Nonna would have beat his ass with a wooden spoon.”

“I do hug and kiss people casually, women and men. I have done it all my life. It’s who I’ve been since I can remember,” Cuomo said Tuesday while announcing his resignation, which arrives in the wake of an investigation that found he sexually harassed multiple women.

“In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn,” he added. “There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t fully appreciate, and I should have.”

Italian Americans quickly took to social media to express their anger with the governor — whose grandparents were Italian immigrants — appearing to write off his behavior as simply having a misunderstood “cultural” difference.

“Cuomo trying to use his Italian heritage as an excuse is disgusting. My Nonna would have beat his ass with a wooden spoon,” one Twitter user said.

“As an American Italian, Andrew Cuomo doesn’t represent us,” another affirmed.

“We Italians refuse to acknowledge Cuomo as a member of la famiglia,” another wrote.

“As an Italian, I’m formally revoking Cuomo’s Italian card,” another Twitter user commented.

Another Twitter user said that “as a women[sic] with Italian ethnicity,” she was “appalled that he would compare appropriate displays of affection in Italian culture with his unwelcomed predatory sexual harassment. Disgusting!”

“The Cuomo family is a disgrace to all Italian Americans,” another tweeted. “I am going to start lying about my ethnicity honest to God.”

“As an Italian, we do not claim Cuomo,” another said.

“Italian-Canadian, here,” another chimed in. “Cuomo should feel ashamed of dragging our heritage thru the mud to excuse his repellant behaviour.”

Others on Twitter pointed out that Cuomo’s “cultural” defense sounded more like he was suggesting that he was forced to resign due to simply being Italian.

“[T]hey made cuomo resign for being italian,” one Twitter user said.

“I can’t believe Andrew Cuomo had to resign just because he’s Italian,” another quipped.

During his Tuesday announcement, Cuomo added that his resignation will take effect in 14 days, at which point New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will take over his role as the state’s governor.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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