Cuomo Is Sorry If ‘Playful’ Comments Went Too Far As Sexual Harassment Scandal Grows

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) speaks at a press conference in New York on March 30, 2020. (Photo by John Lamparski/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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March 1, 2021 7:55 a.m.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an apology on Sunday after two former aides came forward to accuse the governor of sexual harassment.

“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. 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,” Cuomo said in a statement Sunday evening.

Cuomo tried to brush off some of his past comments as “playful” and innocent office banter.

“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 said in his statement.

After criticism over his initial proposals for an outside review of the allegations, Cuomo’s office on Sunday called on New York Attorney General Tish James to appoint a private lawyer to investigate the claims.

“The Governor’s office wants a thorough and independent review that is above reproach and beyond political interference,” Cuomo aide Beth Garvey said in a statement. “Therefore, the Governor’s office has asked Attorney General Tish James to select a qualified private lawyer to do an independent review of allegations of sexual harassment.”

Cuomo’s office pledged full cooperation with the probe.

Read Cuomo’s full statement below:

“Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with people in the office.

“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.

“At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. 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. 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.

“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. 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.

“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.

“That’s why I have asked for an outside, independent review that looks at these allegations.

“Separately, my office has heard anecdotally that some people have reached out to Ms. Bennett to express displeasure about her coming forward. My message to anyone doing that is you have misjudged what matters to me and my administration and you should stop now – period.”

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