Lindsey Boylan, an ex-aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, published an essay accusing him of sexual harassment and outlining several unsettling episodes, including an unsolicited kiss in his office. Boylan is now running for Manhattan borough president.
Former Cuomo Aide Details Sexual Harassment Allegations
A former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who had previously accused the Democratic leader of abusing his power to sexually harass her details her allegations in a post published Wednesday, adding “many other women” were subjected to the same treatment by the governor.
Lindsey Boylan, a long-time state government employee who served as the governor’s special advisor in 2018 and is now running for Manhattan borough president, first made public her accusations of sexual harassment against Cuomo in early December on Twitter, as his name was being floated for U.S. Attorney General under the Biden administration.
Cuomo denied the allegations when they were initially made, and Cuomo’s Press Secretary Caitlin Girouard labeled the latest claims “quite simply false” in a statement released hours after the post was published, specifically challenging Boyland’s account of an October 2017 flight in which Cuomo allegedly said, “Let’s play strip poker.”
“We were on each of these October flights and this conversation did not happen,” wrote Girouard (representatives for Cuomo did not respond to requests for comment).
In the Wednesday post, published on Medium, Boylan alleges Cuomo acted inappropriately toward her and sexually harassed her for years after the two met in January 2016 while she was working as chief of staff at the state’s economic development agency, adding that he “would go out of the way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs” (Cuomo was at the time in a relationship with cookbook author Sandra Lee).
She says she only accepted a promotion to be the governor’s special advisor in 2018 with the requirement that she “remain on a separate floor from him and his inner circle.”
Previously justifying the alleged harassment as “only words,” Boylan said she submitted her resignation in September 2018 after Cuomo kissed her on the lips during a one-on-one briefing about economic and infrastructure projects.
“I am letting my Medium post speak for itself,” Boylan said when asked for further comment by Forbes.
My story of working with Governor Cuomo
“Let’s play strip poker.”
I should have been shocked by the Governor’s crude comment, but I wasn’t.
We were flying home from an October 2017 event in Western New York on his taxpayer-funded jet. He was seated facing me, so close our knees almost touched. His press aide was to my right and a state trooper behind us.
“That’s exactly what I was thinking,” I responded sarcastically and awkwardly. I tried to play it cool. But in that moment, I realized just how acquiescent I had become.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected. His inappropriate behavior toward women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you must be doing something right. He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would face consequences.
That’s why I panicked on the morning of December 13.
While enjoying a weekend with my husband and six-year-old daughter, I spontaneously decided to share a small part of the truth I had hidden for so long in shame and never planned to disclose. The night before, a former Cuomo staffer confided to me that she, too, had been the subject of the Governor’s workplace harassment. Her story mirrored my own. Seeing his name floated as a potential candidate for U.S. Attorney General — the highest law enforcement official in the land — set me off.
In a few tweets, I told the world what a few close friends, family members and my therapist had known for years: Andrew Cuomo abused his power as Governor to sexually harass me, just as he had done with so many other women.