New York governor Andrew Cuomo is the subject of yet another set of troubling headlines. This time a former aide has accused him of sexually harassing her on multiple occasions.
Lindsey Boylan, an ex-aide who worked for New York’s economic development agency, detailed these allegations in a Medium article titled “My story of working with Governor Cuomo.” She opens the article with “‘Let’s play strip poker,’” a remark Gov. Cuomo made to her on a flight in 2017.
“He was seated facing me, so close our knees almost touched. His press aide was to my right and a state trooper behind us,” Boylan says. “‘That’s exactly what I was thinking,’ I responded sarcastically and awkwardly. I tried to play it cool. But in that moment, I realized just how acquiescent I had become.”
She blasts Cuomo for creating a culture in his administration “where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected,” adding that “his inappropriate behavior toward women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you must be doing something right.”
Boylan says that she joined state government in 2015 and was told shortly after receiving a promotion to “be careful around the governor.”
“My first encounter with the Governor came at a January 6, 2016, event at Madison Square Garden to promote the new Pennsylvania Station-Farley Complex project,” she says. “After his speech, he stopped to talk to me. I was new on the job and surprised by how much attention he paid me. My boss soon informed me that the Governor had a ‘crush’ on me.”
Boylan had complained to friends that he would “go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs,” though it wasn’t until December 2016 that she came to “truly fear him.”
In 2018 Boylan says Gov. Cuomo kissed her on the lips, and from there she started coming to work every day feeling “nauseous.” She eventually resigned in September of that year, writing that her relationship with Cuomo’s senior team, which mostly consisted of women, soured because she started speaking up for herself and they told her to “get [back] in line.”
“It was all so normalized—particularly by Melissa DeRosa and other top women around him—that only now do I realize how insidious his abuse was,” she says.
Boylan is currently a candidate for Manhattan Borough President in New York City. She had previously accused Gov. Cuomo of sexual harassment on Twitter, though it was not until Wednesday that she published her Medium article.