New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former aide Charlotte Bennett accused Cuomo of sexual harassment on Thursday night during an interview with “CBS Evening News,” reiterating claims she had made earlier in the week that he had harassed her.
Speaking to host Norah O’Donnell, Bennett, 25, said she believed the governor was propositioning her for sex during a workplace meeting. “Without explicitly saying it, he implied to me that I was old enough for him, and he was lonely,” said Bennett.
On June 5, Cuomo called her into his office and whined about being lonely, saying he was looking for a girlfriend, asking her if age mattered, saying he was okay with anyone over 22.
“I thought, he’s trying to sleep with me. The governor is trying to sleep with me,” she told O’Donnell. “And I am deeply uncomfortable, and I have to get out of this room as soon as possible.”
Cuomo has attempted a public apology, but Bennett is having none of it.
With three women coming forward so far with allegations of sexual harassment, Cuomo held a press conference on Wednesday. He denied knowing that he was acting inappropriately and said he has “learned an important lesson.”
“It’s not an apology,” Bennett said. “It’s not an issue of my feelings. It’s an issue of his actions. The fact is he was sexually harassing me, and he has not apologized for sexually harassing me. And he can’t even use my name.”
Cuomo became a household name during the pandemic after his daily updates on the situation.
“I think he felt like he was untouchable in a lot of ways,” she told O’Donnell.
Bennett had confided in Cuomo that she was a sexual assault survivor, “He asked if I had trouble enjoying being with someone because of my trauma,” she said during the interview. “The governor asked me if I was sensitive to intimacy … during the workday.”
Bennett felt overwhelmed by Cuomo’s conversation, and it was hard for her not to listen because he was her boss.
“When I was even thinking of coming forward, I think that was when I had the most shame,” she said. “I really was uncomfortable. … I feel like people put the onus on the woman to shut that conversation down, and by answering, I was somehow engaging in that or enabling it. … It didn’t feel like I had a choice.”
Debra Katz, an attorney for Bennett, said afterward the governor’s remarks were “full of falsehoods and inaccurate information.”
“The governor repeatedly said he had no idea he made anyone uncomfortable,” Katz said. “My client, Charlotte Bennett, reported his sexually harassing behavior immediately to his chief of staff and chief counsel. We are confident that they made him aware of her complaint.”
Fox News reported that as well as the sexual misconduct claims and accusations of bullying from lawmakers and journalists, Cuomo is also facing a federal probe into his role in the CCP Virus outbreak in New York’s nursing homes that has left more than 15,000 patients dead.