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Gov. Cuomo reacts to sixth sexual harassment accuser

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Following a sixth woman on Tuesday accusing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of sexual harassment, the governor later that day said he wasn’t aware of her claim and reiterated that he did not engage in inappropriate behavior and that nobody told him at the time of the alleged incidents that he made them feel uncomfortable.

On top of the sexual harassment allegations, the governor is also facing an investigation for reports that his administration withheld data on coronavirus-related nursing home deaths from federal prosecutors and altered a state Department of Health report on homes to downplay the impact of a March 25 directive saying that nursing homes couldn’t reject patients even if they were COVID-positive.

RELATED: Report: Cuomo advisers altered report on COVID-19 nursing home deaths

The Albany Times Union reported the most recent allegation, in which the woman recently told a supervisor in the executive chamber that Cuomo inappropriately touched her late last year at the governor’s mansion.

Asked by a reporter about the latest accuser at Tuesday afternoon’s impromptu press conference over the phone, Cuomo replied, “I’m not aware of any of the claim.” He repeated that he never touched anybody inappropriately nor made any inappropriate advances and that nobody at the time of the alleged harassment told him that he was making them feel uncomfortable.

Mentioning state Attorney General Letitia James (D) this week announcing two investigators to look into the sexual harassment allegations as part of her investigation, Cuomo said that he’s going to “respect that investigation”.

RELATED: Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims

The Times Union reported that the woman, whose identity the newspaper withheld since she could not be reached for comment, is a member of the executive chamber staff and had been summoned to the mansion to do work, according to an official close to the matter.

Moreover, The Times Union reported that Cuomo’s office learned of the allegation over the weekend and it was reported to the governor’s counsel by other employees in the chamber.

The newspaper added that the complaint was forwarded by the governor’s office to Attorney General James’s office.

“All allegations that we learn of directly or indirectly are going promptly to the investigators appointed by the attorney general,” Beth Garvey, acting counselor to the governor, said in a statement to The Times Union on Tuesday.

RELATED: NY State Assembly GOP members introduce impeachment resolution against Cuomo

Another reporter at Tuesday’s conference brought up that in 2018, Cuomo called for the resignation of then-state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman “within three hours” of multiple women accusing him of physical abuse, for which Schneiderman ultimately resigned. “Why doesn’t that same expectation apply to you?” the reporter asked, also inquiring about the governor’s conversations with his daughters about the allegations.

“There’s obviously allegations and then there are allegations, right? And there’s a spectrum of allegations,” Cuomo said. “There’s capital crimes, there’s physical violence—right?—down to more minor allegations.”

As for what he told his daughters, Cuomo said that he told them the same thing he has told the press.

“If you have an allegation, let’s find out what the facts were. You can allege something—it might be true, might be not true—you may have misperceived, there may be other facts,” Cuomo also said. “So let’s get the facts,” he said, saying that’s what the investigation is about.

Another reporter asked Cuomo if he would run for a fourth term in 2022 as he has mentioned before, for which the governor didn’t give a direct answer.

RELATED: Poll: 40% of New Yorkers support recalling Gov. Cuomo

“First, today’s not a day for politics,” Cuomo replied. “I’m focusing on my job. My job is vaccines, getting a budget done, rebuilding New York.”

Secondly, the governor told the reporter, “You don’t know any facts, right? You know allegations, you don’t know facts.” Cuomo reiterated that “real discussion” cannot happen until investigation reveals the facts.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Disney Executive Caught on Tape: ‘There’s No Way We’re Hiring a White Man’

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Twentieth Century Television Senior Vice President Michael Giordano was caught on a hidden video saying that Disney explicitly does not hire “white men” for specific roles.

Michael Giordano’s comments are only a few minutes in the video, with some intermittent reactions; however, Giordano says some damaging things about Disney’s hiring practices and inclusion policies.

Certainly, there have been times where, you know, there’s no way we’re hiring a white man for this…. There are times when it’s spoken. 

Reporter: How would they say it?

There’s no way we’re hiring a white man for this role. They’d be very careful how they’d message that to agents. 

Giordano says that Disney CEO Bob Iger “100 percent” has a say in ensuring diversity in casting on Disney’s shows and movies. While it is not a directive from Bob Iger, he says there should be “a certain amount of diversity” in each show.

The reporter asked if this initiative came from Latondra Newton, Disney’s former Chief Diversity Officer, who is African American and left her job last year. However, Senior VP Michael Giordano said that other people in human resources are also focused on diversity in the company.

Giordano went on to say that while only 10-15 percent of the population is gay, he estimates that a third or more of Disney’s writers are gay, and they “lean into gay and transgender stories.”

He went on to say that when it comes to Disney’s hiring practices, there are “certain people that they won’t see.” He said:

When it comes to diversity, there is a belief that it’s just good for society. But there’s also a belief that it’s going to make more money if we appeal to a wider variety of people and it’s a good thing.

We have shareholders too. There are conservative people who don’t lean into it, but you can make the argument that we make more money if we appeal to a wider variety of people. 

 

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