New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) defended a rather odd “Me Too” joke Thursday. On Wednesday evening, Cuomo told reporters gathered closely around him: “I’ll bring you all up on charges under the Me Too movement.”
That video was shared by USA Today’s Jon Campbell:
Andrew Cuomo just had a semi-impromptu gaggle with reporters.— Jon Campbell (@JonCampbellGAN) January 9, 2019
It started with an aide asking us to move back a few steps to give him room.
“I’ll bring you all up on charges under the Me Too movement,” Cuomo said. pic.twitter.com/fLe5ddnIyJ
On Thursday, Cuomo did not apologize for the remark, calling it an “offhand comment” and even accusing the reporters of assaulting him by crowding too closely as he left his office.
"I think it was an offhand comment," he said to WAMC host Alan Chartock. "You know, I walked out into the highway and I was assaulted by the gaggle and pieces of equipment hitting me and all sorts of my anatomy."
"It was an offhand comment just to get them to move back,” he said. “You know, the physical assault was overwhelming. But it was just an offhand comment."
Campbell disputed that characterization of events.
Was the Cuomo gaggle crowded? Yes, absolutely. Was he "assaulted" by reporters? Absolutely not.— Jon Campbell (@JonCampbellGAN) January 10, 2019
Many were not amused by Cuomo’s remark.
This is not leadership. This disgusting behavior keeps victims silent and allows perpetrators to thrive. For years we’ve been forced to just smile and take it, be a “team player”, and laugh at our own expense. Albany needs to hear #Metoo and that starts with @NYGovCuomo. https://t.co/pKjcy4p6ED— Leah Hebert (@LeahMHebert) January 10, 2019
“Why would someone make light of sexual assault and harassment, especially in a room filled with people bearing recording devices?” Opheli Garcia Lawler wrote in New York Magazine. “And, just on a semantic level, how would one even go about bringing up charges under a social justice movement?”
“Stop him,” Kathy Griffin tweeted in reply to the footage of Cuomo’s remark.
Stop him. Unlike the gop, we have a much better history of weeding out our bad ones. Look it up before you @ me!— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) January 9, 2019