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For Andrew Cuomo, there can be no sexual harassment double standard. He should resign.

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There is no place for sexual harassment or abuse of power in any American workplace — be it in business or politics. This is a basic and simple standard. No one, no matter where they work or what they do should be subject to harassment or hostility from a co-worker, and especially not from someone in a position of power. Those who report harassment should not be forced to leave their jobs in order to avoid harassment. That is why, if the allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo are true, he must resign.

No leader in a position of power can maintain their legitimacy under the kind of suspicion and allegations that have been leveled against Gov. Cuomo. He is accused of having called and screamed at a member of the New York State Assembly so loudly that his family could hear it across the room. Threatening to “destroy” a co-worker for any reason, as Cuomo apparently did, is unacceptable and outrageous behavior and an abuse of power. And now, two women have accused the Governor of unwanted sexual advances. The New York Times reporting of the newest accuser, Charlotte Bennett, is extremely detailed. They reviewed text messages she sent to multiple people about the incident at the time. She also claims to have reported the harassment to her superior in state government. The response: move her to another job. Even if that job was not a demotion, the victim here was punished.  She was asked to give up her job in order to accommodate her harasser — the most powerful man in New York politics. 

Sexual harassment has nothing to do with political party

Now Gov. Cuomo has issued a non-apology, trying to deflect responsibility for his terrible judgement by claiming to have been “insensitive or too personal.” That he is unwilling to acknowledge just how unacceptable his behavior was makes it all the more clear that he can no longer lead.

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo on May 26, 2020, in New York City.

If we have learned one thing from #MeToo it’s that harassment has nothing to do with political party. It’s about power and the abuse of it. Men who harass or make unwanted sexual advances on women in the workplace (or both) must be held accountable, no matter their party or politics. It’s disqualifying behavior that undermines the legitimacy of that leader.



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