ALBANY (WRGB) — Governor Cuomo and sexual harassment – what’s the definition of sexual harassment? There are questions about that after an exchange at his public event in the Bronx today.
When pressed on the sexual harassment allegations he’s facing, Governor Andrew Cuomo said again today that he’s looking forward to telling his side of the story as the investigations play out, and he also said he never meant to make anyone feel uncomfortable.
Then came an unusual exchange when a reporter from City & State asked him if he acknowledges that his intentions don't matter when it comes to sexual harassment.
The Governor responded “You can leave this press conference today and say oh the Governor harassed me. You can say that. I would say I never said anything that I believed was inappropriate. I never meant to make you feel that way. You may hear it that way, you may interpret it that way, and I respect that and I apologize to you if I said something you think was offensive.”
When pressed further, Cuomo offered his thoughts on sexual harassment, saying,
“Harassment is not making someone feel uncomfortable.. If I just made you feel uncomfortable, that is not harassment. That's you feeling uncomfortable.”
The Merriam-Webster definition of harassment is - to create an unpleasant or hostile situation, especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct.
Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett tweeted this after hearing her former boss's comments -- "When Governor Cuomo propositioned me for sex, he broke the law. It is very simple; the issue is about his actions, it is not about my feelings. He broke the law (you know, the one he signed). Apologies don't fix that, and neither do denials."
The Sexual Harassment Working Group said this ,
"Today Andrew Cuomo’s self-delusion reached impressive new heights and our response is simple: just because you believe you can’t make anyone “feel” harassed by your actions, doesn’t make it legally true. If the Governor tried that before a judge he’d get laughed out of court.”
The Governor also said today he took the state mandated sexual harassment training this year at his office in Albany. He doesn't remember when he took it, but he says he didn't take a class; he watched a power point presentation.