A former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the governor kissed her without her consent, and asked that she play strip poker, alleging a pattern of sexual harassment. The details were published in a Medium post on Wednesday.
Lindsey Boylan, who is currently running for Manhattan borough president, formerly worked for the New York democrat and the state’s economic development agency. In the post, Boylan alleges Cuomo kissed her on the lips against her will at his office in Manhattan.
“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,” Boylan wrote. “He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would face consequences.”
Boylan said the kiss took place after she gave the governor a one-on-one briefing on state economic and infrastructure projects. In December, Boylan first accused the governor of sexual harassment, but denied providing any details on the incident. On Wednesday, she provided details.
“We were in his New York City office on Third Avenue. As I got up to leave and walk toward an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips. I was in shock, but I kept walking,” Boylan wrote. “I was scared she had seen the kiss. The idea that someone might think I held my high-ranking position because of the Governor’s ‘crush’ on me was more demeaning than the kiss itself,” she wrote. “After that, my fears worsened. I came to work nauseous every day. My relationship with his senior team — mostly women — grew hostile after I started speaking up for myself. I was reprimanded and told to get in line by his top aides, but I could no longer ignore it.”
In October 2017, Boylan noted she was flying on Cuomo’s government jet back from an event in Western New York, along with security detail that also witnessed the incident.
“Let’s play strip poker,” she quoted the governor as saying as they were sitting facing each other, close enough that their knees almost touched, in the presence of a state trooper and press aide.
She said she tried to brush off the comment, responding sarcastically, “That’s exactly what I was thinking.”
Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday, although, at the time in December, his office did release a statement in response.
“Look, I fought for and I believe a woman has a right to come forward and express her opinion, and express issues and concerns that she has,” Cuomo said in December. “But it’s just not true.”