More and more women are coming forward accusing New York governor of Andrew Cuomo sexual misconduct. Here is the just the latest example.
Sherry Vill remembers feeling embarrassed and stuck as the New York governor Andrew Cuomo “manhandled” her and came on to her in her own home, in front of her husband and son.
“He towered over me,” she said during a press conference on Monday. “There was nothing I could do.”
Vill, 55, met Cuomo in May 2017, when he visited her suburban house near Rochester, New York, while surveying flooding damage in the area. Hers is the latest in a series of allegations detailing a pattern of sexual misconduct by the now infamous chief of state.
Vill recalled Cuomo holding her hand, forcibly grabbing her face, aggressively kissing her cheeks and calling her beautiful. The unwanted advances made her uncomfortable, especially around her family and neighbors.
Multiple current and former aides have now outlined inappropriate interactions with the governor, even as he publicly admonished the “pervasive poison of workplace sexual harassment” and ardently defended workplace protections amid the #MeToo movement.
Lindsey Boylan, a former economic development official, published an essay in February about how she felt Cuomo “would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs”. She recalled a number of his vulgar comments – including a suggestion that they play strip poker – and described her shock when, during a visit to his office, he kissed her on the lips.
We can dispense with the notion that Cuomo was unaware that what he was doing was wrong. The time when that excuse was even remotely plausible has long since passed. The point is that he did not care that it was wrong. Why? Because of his sense of power, that he felt he could get away with this kind of behavior because people were afraid to challenge him. We saw that attitude repeatedly on display with Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and a whole slew of famous people who were powerful in their domain.
There have long been many reasons to dislike Cuomo who represented the worst elements of neoliberal politics within the Democratic party that finds more common ground with Republicans than with the progressives within their own party.
Cuomo has been able to fend off challenges to his autocratic rule by bullying and threatening anyone who had the temerity to challenge him on anything. He probably felt that he could intimidate all these women into silence too. He is discovering that once one person opens up about the abuse they suffered, it emboldens all the others to come forward.
It is time for him to go.