“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,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a press release on Sunday.
A second former aide to Cuomo accused him of sexual harassment last week. Charlotte Bennett, said that Cuomo asked her questions about her sex life and if “she had ever had sex with older men.” Bennett’s allegations follow those made by Lindsey Boylan, another former New York state official who came forward and told her story how Cuomo had harassed her on several occasions in past two years.
“I do it in public and in private,” continued Cuomo’s statement on Sunday. “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,” continued Cuomo. “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.”
“I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable,” reassured Cuomo. “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.”