Protesters were scheduled to demonstrate outside the New York governor’s mansion Sunday after more women came forward over the weekend accusing Gov. Andrew Cuomo of misconduct, Politico reports.
On Saturday, two former aides to Cuomo told media outlets that he engaged in physical and verbal improprieties.
Karen Hinton, a former press aide, told The Washington Post that Cuomo had hugged her repeatedly, including one hug that she described as “very long, too long, too tight, too intimate.”
The encounter allegedly occurred in a Los Angeles hotel room in 2000 while Cuomo was head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Hinton told the Post that she sought to pull away from Cuomo, but that he pulled her back.
“I thought at that moment it could lead to a kiss, it could lead to other things, so I just pull away again, and I leave,” Hinton told the newspaper.
Also Saturday, Ana Liss, a former policy and operations aide for Cuomo between 2013 and 2015, told The Wall Street Journal that the governor would call her “sweetheart,” inquired about whether she was dating, kissed her hand and touched her on her lower back.
“It’s not appropriate, really, in any setting,” Liss told the Journal.
Liss specifically alleged that Cuomo in 2014 called her “sweetheart,” kissed her on her cheeks, and grabbed her lower waist.
The interactions, Liss told the Post, made her feel as though she was “just a skirt.”
With the addition of Hinton and Liss, Cuomo is now facing accusations by five women of inappropriate behavior.
In February, ex-aide Lindsey Boylan alleged that Cuomo kissed her on the lips. Last week, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged that Cuomo suggested he was open to having a relationship with younger women, leaving Bennett to feel that he “wanted to sleep with me,” she told The New York Times. Ann Ruch, 33, has also alleged that Cuomo in 2019 gave her an unwanted kiss.
On Twitter, Boylan thanked Hinton and Liss for sharing their stories.
“Thank you Karen Hinton for courageously sharing your story of how our boss, one of the most powerful men in the country, used his power to abuse you. I am sending you love. I am with you. We are with you,” Boylan tweeted.
In her tweet to Liss, Boylan wrote: “It’s extremely destructive that our boss, the governor of New York, treated us this way.”
Peter Ajemian, a representative for Cuomo, has flatly denied Hinton’s allegations, telling the Post that what she claimed “did not happen.”
“Karen Hinton is a known antagonist of the Governor’s who is attempting to take advantage of this moment to score cheap points with made up allegations from 21 years ago,” Ajemian told Post.
Rich Azzopardi, another Cuomo spokesperson, has said that Liss’ allegations are common behavior at public gatherings.
“Reporters and photographers have covered the governor for 14 years watching him kiss men and women and posing for pictures,” Azzopardi said, according to Politico. “At the public open house mansion reception there are hundreds of people and he poses for hundreds of pictures. That’s what people in politics do.”
Two male aides have also accused Cuomo of abusive conduct and using crude language, the Post reports.
The governor is facing calls to resign, but so far, he has not expressed any willingness to do so.
Earlier this week, Cuomo told reporters that he did not intend to make anyone feel uneasy.
“I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said at a press conference on Wednesday, according to NBC News. “It was unintentional. And I truly and deeply apologize for it.”
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(AP Photo/Hans Pennink, Pool, File)