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Release: Nixon says she supports Sexual Harassment Working Group demands for public hearings on Albany abuses. She says Cuomo ignored these abuses when they were brought to his attention.

July 23, 2018

Cynthia Nixon Statement on Today's Sexual Harassment Working Group Meeting

NEW YORK, NY -- Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon released the following statement in response to The Sexual Harassment Working Group (SHWG) calling on the legislature to hold public hearings to improve the state’s anti-sexual harassment laws.

"I stand with the Sexual Harassment Working Group to demand public hearings on sexual harassment in Albany. It's unfathomable that when the Governor convened a meeting to develop new sexual harassment policy this year that he included a state senator accused of sexual misconduct, but not one single female legislator. We've got to do better. The Governor has again and again turned a blind eye to sexual harassment committed under his watch. Having three daughters doesn’t make a man a feminist anymore than ignoring women who’ve been bold enough to come forward to improve our anti-sexual harassment laws. We need a governor who will make protecting workers from harassment a priority and when I am her, I will.”

In May, the campaign released a new video on the Governor's record of ignoring numerous reports of sexual harassment within his own administration (video).

Cuomo’s Record on Sexual Harassment
Cuomo's Sexual Harassment Law Criticized For Ignoring Testimony of Victims, and Not Offering Enough Protections. "Yet the policy still falls short, according to critics, including a group of former legislative staffers who say they were harassed by lawmakers. The public still cannot access records about harassment claims, for example, because the state Legislature isn’t subject to the state’s own open records law. Critics also note that no women were allowed to participate in final negotiations over the measure, which were conducted by Cuomo and top lawmakers, all men. And they say the policy doesn’t go far enough to protect employees from harassment based on gender. Sen. Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat who has been urging her colleagues to crack down on sexual harassment in state government, said she was “very disappointed” that the final measure wasn’t broad enough. The group of former staffers — all women — note that the measure was rushed through the Legislature on the final night of budget deliberations, and that victims themselves didn’t get a chance to offer input. “It is disappointing that our elected officials feel our protection deserves so little attention and transparency,” the group said in a statement. “True progress to protect workers from sexual harassment, and overhaul Albany’s terrible mechanisms for handling complaints, must include listening to the victims who have actually endured the process.” [AP, 4/12/2018]

Cuomo Was Notified In Writing About Unfair Treatment To Female DCJS Employees And “Did Not Take Steps To Intervene In The Plight Of The DCJS Employees.” According to the Times Union, “Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott were both notified in writing about the treatment of the female DCJS employees in late January — three weeks after the governor declared in his annual State of the State address that the nation ‘is taking a long look in the mirror as to how we treat women, and we are disgusted with what we see. And we should be.’ But the governor's office did not take steps to intervene in the plight of the DCJS employees. The inaction occurred despite the findings of the inspector general's investigation — which have not been made public — that sustained the harassment allegations and recommended DCJS ‘take action as you deem appropriate’ against three top officials at the agency, including a human resources director and a first deputy commissioner.” [Times Union, 3/19/18]

Victim Says Cuomo “Ignored Her Pleas To Investigate Sexual Harassment Complaints Against [Cuomo Advisor Sam] Hoyt.” According to the Buffalo News, “What began as a ‘flirty’ relationship between a state worker and a powerful official now threatens to ensnare the governor of New York. Andrew M. Cuomo is named in a federal lawsuit that Lisa M. Cater, of Buffalo, filed after she heard some of Cuomo’s top lieutenants praising Sam Hoyt upon his resignation last month as a gubernatorial confidante, even as probes into the former economic development official’s alleged sexual harassment continued. She alleges that Cuomo ignored her pleas to investigate her sexual harassment complaints against Hoyt, while Buffalo Republicans renewed their questions. ‘What did Andrew Cuomo know and when did he know it?’ Erie County Republican Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy asked again Sunday. ‘And did he and his ranking subordinates help Sam orchestrate what was essentially hush money?’ Administration officials, however, dismissed any idea the lawsuit should enter the political arena.” [Buffalo News, 11/20/17]

New York Indivisible Criticized Cuomo For His Handling Of Harassment Claims Against Sen. Jeff Klein And For Calling For Investigations But “[Offering] No Details On Who Would Handle It.” According to the New York Times, “Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has worked closely with the Independent Democratic Conference, and has been accused of facilitating the group’s partnership with Mr. Flanagan, has twice called for an investigation, but has offered no details on who would handle it. That has not satisfied some activists and protesters who feel that the governor should be more outspoken, particularly considering the national reckoning over sexual harassment in the workplace — something Mr. Cuomo has promised will be a major part of his 2018 agenda. ‘He has said the bare minimum to slip away from any responsibility,’ said Heather Stewart, of the group Empire State Indivisible, calling Mr. Cuomo a ‘poor champion for justice.’” [New York Times, 12/13/17]