Back in the middle of December, an adviser who used to work closely with disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made allegations that he had sexually harassed her while she was in his employ.
Lindsey Boylan had posted on Twitter that Cuomo “sexually harassed me for years,” going on to add, “many saw it, and watched” and that she “could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks.”
“Not knowing what to expect what’s the most upsetting part aside from knowing that no one would do a damn thing even when they saw it. No one. And I *know* I am not the only woman,” she went on to say. “I’m angry to be put in this situation at all. That because I am a woman, I can work hard my whole life to better myself and help others and yet still fall victim as countless women over generations have. Mostly silently. I hate that some men, like @NYGovCuomo abuse their power.”
Cuomo, of course, denied the allegations.
“Yeah, I heard about the tweet and what it said about comments that I had made and it’s not true. Look, I fought for and I believe a woman has the right to come forward and express her opinion and express issues and concerns that she has, but it’s just not true,” he said.
On Wednesday, Boylan wrote a lengthy article on Medium detailing her allegations against Cuomo, beginning with a suggestion the government made while the two were on his taxpayer-funded jet in which he suggested they play “strip poker.”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking,” Boylan said she replied, claiming her statement was made “sarcastically and awkwardly” and that she “tried to play it cool.”
“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,” Boylan wrote in the article.
Boylan said she decided to come forward on December 13 after another former staffer confided in her that she had also been sexually harassed by Cuomo. She said the harassment began shortly after her first encounter with Cuomo, when she was “surprised by how much attention he paid me.” Boylan said her boss then informed her that Cuomo had a “crush” on her because she looked so much like his rumored former girlfriend Lisa Shields, even calling Boylan by Lisa’s name in front of coworkers.
“He said look up Lisa Shields. You could be sisters. Except you’re the better looking sister,” Boylan’s boss wrote to her in an email, a screenshot of which was included in Boylan’s article.
Boylan then went on to say that she actually complained about the harassment to her friends, revealing that Cuomo was constantly touching her on her “lower back, arms, and legs.”
She also said that Cuomo’s senior staff “began keeping tabs” on her whereabouts. Boylan then included screenshots of a text message exchange she had with her mom back in November of 2016 in which she detailed a particular incident of sexual harassment.
Cuomo did some pretty creepy stuff. Apparently, he liked to give all of his female employees roses on Valentine’s Day and left a signed photograph of himself in Boylan’s office while she was out. Who the heck would want that? Seriously? How egotistical do you have to be to think that’s a good gift for someone?
Boylan says she was eventually promoted to Deputy Secretary of Economic Development and Special Adviser to the Governor, but stated she attempted to turn down the job in order to steer clear of Cuomo. However, she eventually accepted the job with the stipulation that her office remain far from Cuomo and those in his inner circle.
She went on to note that the harassment was mostly verbal until one day when she had a brief one-on-one meeting with Cuomo where she alleges he kissed her on the lips.
Boylan noted she was afraid that people in the office would think she only got the promotion because of Cuomo’s “crush” on her and said she only began to speak out about the harassment when other women on the senior team ostracized her.
She finally resigned on September 26, 2018.
Two other women have reportedly come forward with tales of sexual harassment since Boylan stepped up and told her story.
“I am speaking up because I have the privilege to do so when many others do not. No one should have to be defined or destroyed by this kind of sexual harassment. Nor should they be revictimized if they decide to speak their own truth,” Boylan said at the end of her piece.