New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s first accuser recently spoke out against the online “hate” and “misogyny” she claims she and others have faced since leveling sexual harassment claims against the governor.
“Please understand, I am ok and I will be ok,” the former Cuomo aide wrote on Twitter earlier this week. “But these online trolls are being seen by other survivors. Not all survivors have the privilege of a platform I do. Not all survivors have the support system I do. The hate of survivors and misogyny needs to stop.”
One commenter in Boylan’s anti-hate post accused her of being a “fame groupie” while another mocked her using the word “survivor.”
Boylan — a candidate for borough president of Manhattan in New York City — and the other women who have come forward to accuse the governor of sexual harassment and inappropriate touching are reportedly being trolled online with sexist comments, with some social media users accusing them of lying or being political opportunists.
Some trolls have also blamed the accusers for being harassed, according to the Journal News in New York state’s Lower Hudson Valley.
The governor has been accused of sexual harassment by at least six women, including an unidentified aide who claimed Cuomo groped her underneath her blouse without consent while she was at the governor’s mansion last year.
In late February, Boylan alleged Cuomo had frequently made inappropriate comments to her, suggestively joking once that they should play strip poker.
She said he also kissed her on the mouth once without consent, adding in the more than three years she worked for him, he “would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs.”
Boylan has taken the brunt of the allegations, according to the Journal News. The former Cuomo aide has been called a liar, a manipulator and a harasser herself while being questioned the about timing of her claims as well as insinuations she is trying to “smear” the governor.
‘I am not deterred’
Fellow accuser Charlotte Bennett, a former aide who said Cuomo asked her intimate questions about her love life, said, “In coming forward I fully expected to be attacked by those who reflexively question the honesty or motivation of those who report sexual harassment. I am not deterred by these voices.”
She said instead she focused on the “overwhelming love and support I have received from friends and strangers alike.”
“I fully expected to be attacked by those who reflexively question the honesty or motivation of those who report sexual harassment.”
Bennett, 25, said she felt the governor, who is nearly 40 years her senior, was “trying to sleep with me.”
Even Cuomo himself has spoken out against the harassment.
“My message to anyone doing that is, you have misjudged what matters to me and my administration and you should stop now – period,” he said in a statement late last month after he said his office had heard “anecdotally that some people have reached out to Ms. Bennett to express displeasure about her coming forward.”
Victim blaming is common when harassment allegations surface and has become especially prevalent in the current sharp police divide and vitriolic climate of social media. It also discourages other harassment victims from speaking out, experts say, according to the Journal News.
“What we know is that (victim-blaming) … is incredibly silencing, not only for those individuals who have come forward to report their experiences of sexual harassment and assault, but for everyone who is listening, watching, observing how they’re being treated – and seeing the vitriol and victim-blaming comments that they are being targeted with,” Laura Palumbo of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center told the Journal News.
‘Laughable’ Trump theory
One bizarre online conspiracy, the Journal News reported, is that the women made false claims of harassment to remove Cuomo from office so former President Trump won’t have to face financial inquiries in the state. But any questionable Trump dealings in the state would be investigated by the state Attorney General’s office, not the governor.
“It’s tantamount to QAnon (conspiracies),” Cuomo accuser Ana Liss said in an interview with WROC-TV in Rochester. “Like to think that I would be contacted by Donald Trump’s people and be paid off? It’s laughable, and that’s a distraction.”
“Like to think that I would be contacted by Donald Trump’s people and be paid off? It’s laughable, and that’s a distraction.”
It should be noted, however, that many people online have been supportive of the women and their claims.
Cuomo is facing calls to resign, an independent investigation of the claims lead by New York Attorney General Letitia James and an impeachment inquiry lead by Democrats in the state legislature.
Cuomo has apologized for making the women feel “uncomfortable” but has denied any inappropriate touching.
- [LLODO] Cuomo’s ‘New York Tough’ slogan seems mocked as ‘NY Touch’ in light display
- [LLODO] Gunning for Cuomo, Lee Zeldin rakes in big bucks on Day One
- [LLODO] NY Rep. Zeldin launches 2022 gubernatorial campaign amid Cuomo controversies
- [LLODO] Cuomo administration tracked nursing home deaths despite claims they couldn’t be ‘verified,’ document shows
- [LLODO] Cuomo accuser gives details of alleged groping incident: ‘He slammed the door’
- [LLODO] Cuomo grilled about reports of family getting COVID testing priority
- [LLODO] Cuomo accuser gives details of alleged groping incident: ‘He slammed to door’
- [LLODO] Cuomo uses vaccine presser to cite year from ‘hell’ over personal scandals
- [LLODO] Cuomo pressed on decision to hold public events without media members amid ongoing controversies