A third former aide of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Saturday night came forward with sexual harassment allegations against him, following two former aides accusing the governor of inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
In an interview published in the Wall Street Journal Saturday night, Anna Liss, who served as a policy and operations aide to Cuomo between 2013 and 2015, alleged instances of sexual harassment during her time working for the New York governor. Liss claimed that Cuomo asked if she had a boyfriend, called her sweetheart, touched her on her lower back at a reception and once kissed her hand when she got up from her desk.
Liss told WSJ that Cuomo’s actions were unsolicited and happened during the first year she worked for him.
Liss detailed to WSJ an incident in May 2014 when Cuomo called her “sweetheart,” hugged her, kissed her on both cheeks and then wrapped his arm around her lower back and grabbed her waist.
Liss also recalled a similar incident in January 2016 during an event at Madison Square Garden, alleging that Cuomo stopped to talk with her after a speech, and her boss told her soon after that the governor had a crush on her.
According to WSJ, Liss never filed a formal complaint regarding the governor’s inappropriate actions. Liss claims that her experience working as Cuomo’s aide led her to begin mental health counseling in 2014, when she drank heavily that year. Liss eventually asked to transfer to another office.
Liss told WSJ that she initially brushed off Cuomo’s actions as harmless flirtations, but has felt differently over time as she came to view his behavior in the workplace as patronizing.
“It’s not appropriate, really, in any setting,” Liss, who views Cuomo’s actions as diminishing her from an educated professional to “just a skirt,” told WSJ.
WSJ reported that Liss decided to come forward after two other former Cuomo aides accused the New York governor of sexual harassment in the workplace. Liss said she was underwhelmed by the governor’s response to their allegations.
“I understand that sensitivities have changed and behavior has changed, and I get it. And I’m going to learn from it,” Cuomo said, during his last public appearance last week.
Cuomo claimed that his actions were “unintentional” and that he’s “embarrassed.”
“I truly and deeply apologize for it,” Cuomo said Wednesday. “I feel awful about it and, frankly, I am embarrassed.”