‘Eat the whole sausage: Gov. Cuomo in hot water for resurfaced video
Embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who is already under fire from both sides of the aisle over sexual harassment allegations and the nursing home scandal, is now being accused of pressuring a female journalist in a video to “eat the whole sausage” at the 2016 New York State Fair.
“I want to see you eat the whole sausage,” Cuomo can be heard telling then-NewsChannel 9 reporter Beth Cefalu, all while his youngest daughter Michaela sits silently next to him, according to the video shared by journalist Matt Binder. A now-former aide to Cuomo could be seen handing Cefalu a sandwich.
“I don’t know if I should eat the whole sausage in front of you, but I’m definitely going to eat it,” Cefalu replied.
The Empire State governor then gestures to Cefalu, who is now a reporter and anchor at News 12 Westchester, to sit beside him.
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After she takes a selfie with Cuomo while hoisting up her plate, Cuomo remarked in an exchange, “There’s too much sausage in that picture,” which garnered some laughs from other table guests.
However, Cefalu hit back at those trying to turn the viral video into a scandal.
On Sunday, she told Fox News on Sunday that her interaction with the governor has “nothing to do” with the harassment claims the governor has been facing and that she never felt “pressured” to eat the sandwich.
“The governor was trying to be nice and got me some food,” Cefalu explained. “It’s probably the one day of year or story of the year he and I can be a little informal and that’s what this was nothing more. He did not pressure me – he was not hitting on me nor did I feel harassed in anyway.”
Moreover, Cefalu tweeted Monday: “I was not pressured/harassed this is two people enjoying the one event – the NYS fair – that gives them a little more freedom to be informal. [It’s] really sad it’s being turned into anything more.”
The journalist went on to go after the media in her Twitter thread, saying, “This is why people hate ‘the media’ misleading headlines and one-sided articles twisting reality. It’s really sad that any media will turn fun at the fair into some sleazy scandal that it wasn’t.”
Last week, Cuomo was accused by a former top aide, Lindsey Boylan, of sexually harassing her while she served in his administration, after she accused him in December of making inappropriate comments about her appearance. Cuomo’s office has denied the accusations she made in an essay on Wednesday.
After Boylan stepped forward, a low-level aide in the Cuomo’s administration until November named Charlotte Bennett told The New York Times in a Saturday report that the governor asked inappropriate questions regarding her sex life, such as if she had ever had sex with older men, as well as other remarks she interpreted as calculating her interest in a tryst.
Currently, pressure is mounting for an investigation into the sexual harassment claims made against Cuomo.
In a Sunday statement, the governor said he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that,” Fox News reported.
“At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good-natured way,” Cuomo also said. “I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.