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9 Women Have Now Accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of Sexual Harassment



9 Women Have Now Accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of Sexual Harassment

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who’s currently in his third term, has now been accused of sexual harassment or misconduct by nine women. The allegations have triggered an outside investigation, calls for resignation from high-ranking Democrats, and an impeachment inquiry from the State Assembly.

Here’s what we know so far:

The Timeline

The first allegations arose in December 2020, when President Joe Biden was reportedly considering Cuomo for attorney general. At the time, Cuomo was still widely regarded as a hero for how he managed New York’s pandemic response. (This was before he was embroiled in another scandal over underreporting COVID death tolls in nursing homes.) He had published a book, won an Emmy, and appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone. Lingua Franca, a luxury knitwear brand with an Upper East Side #resistance ethos, had even sold cashmere sweaters with “Cuomosexual” embroidered across the front.

On Dec. 11, Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to Cuomo, tweeted at Joe Biden, writing: “If you make this man attorney general, some women like me will be bringing the receipts. We do not need a sexual harasser and abuser as ‘the law,’ of the land.” Her allegation received little attention until Feb. 24, when she published an essay alleging that the governor made persistent sexual comments when she was his employee and kissed her without her consent.

Since then, eight more women have come forward with allegations of workplace sexual harassment or misconduct. The allegations vary in severity, with one accusation of groping made by an unidentified woman on March 10 potentially reaching “the level of a crime,” according to Albany police.

The Allegations

Lindsey Boylan

Cuomo’s first accuser, Boylan, 36, worked at the New York state economic development agency from 2015 to 2018. She is currently running for Manhattan borough president.

In her essay, Boylan wrote about multiple uncomfortable, sexualized interactions she had with Cuomo over the course of several years. She alleges that in 2016 her boss told her the governor had a “crush” on her, and that Cuomo made comments about her looks, including telling Boylan she could be the “better looking sister” of his rumored ex-girlfriend Lisa Shields. In 2017, she alleges, Cuomo suggested they “play strip poker” while on a plane.

Boylan also alleges the harassment was physical. “I had complained to friends that the governor would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs,” she wrote. Boylan also claims that Cuomo “stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips” as she was leaving a one-on-one briefing in 2018.

The governor has denied the allegations. Boylan has called on Cuomo to resign.

Charlotte Bennett

A few days after Boylan published her account, Charlotte Bennett, 25, came forward with sexual harassment allegations of her own. Bennett worked as an assistant and policy adviser in the Cuomo administration until November 2020. At first, she saw Cuomo as a mentor.

But in early June 2020, Bennett alleges Cuomo asked her numerous inappropriate questions about her sex life, including whether she slept with older men. In the same conversation, Cuomo allegedly told her that he was looking for a girlfriend and was “fine with anyone above the age of 22,” which Bennett interpreted as a sexual advance. She also noted that throughout their professional relationship he had seemed fixated on her past experience of sexual assault. Bennett says she reported the conversation to Jill DesRosiers, Cuomo’s chief of staff, and was transferred to a different job within a month.

Cuomo responded to the allegations, saying “I never made advances toward Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.”

Anna Ruch

Anna Ruch, 33, claims that Cuomo made an unwanted advance towards her at a wedding in 2019, clasping her face and asking if he could kiss her. Unlike most of the other women mentioned here, Ruch is not and never has been employed by the governor’s office or the state of New York. Still, her account—and the photo that captured her discomfort—was a turning point, prompting several state Democratic officials to call on Cuomo to resign.

A few days after Ruch’s allegations surfaced Cuomo issued a public statement from the State Capitol. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.” However, he denied ever touching anyone inappropriately.

Karen Hinton

Hinton, who worked for Cuomo when he was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton Administration, alleged that Cuomo gave her an unsolicited “intimate embrace” in a hotel room in 2000. “I pulled away. He brought me back. I pulled away again and I said, ‘Look I need some sleep, I am going,” she said in a TV interview.

Cuomo has denied her account, describing Hinton as “a longtime political adversary.”

Ana Liss

Ana Liss, 35, another former aide, claims Cuomo kissed her hand, touched her lower back, called her “sweetheart,” and asked whether she had a boyfriend while she was working for him between 2013 and 2015. Liss has stated that she initially saw this behavior as harmless flirtation, but gradually began to see it as inappropriate and patronizing.

A senior Cuomo adviser characterized Cuomo’s interactions with Liss as typical for his office. “I understand that sensitivities have changed and behavior has changed, and I get it. And I’m going to learn from it,” Cuomo said.

Unnamed woman

On March 10, the Times Union of Albany reported that a female aide, whose identity the newspaper has not made public, alleged that Cuomo “aggressively” groped her at the Executive Mansion in late 2020. The aide, a young woman, had been summoned to the governor’s private residence to assist him with a technical issue. They were alone when Cuomo allegedly “reached under her blouse and began to fondle her,” according to the Times Union report.

Cuomo issued a statement denying the allegations. “I have never done anything like this,” the governor said, before acknowledging that “the details of this report are gut-wrenching.”

This allegation could turn out to be significant, as groping qualifies as a form of sexual assault. Sexual assault, unlike sexual harassment, is a criminal matter. The allegation has been formally referred to the Albany Police Department, but as of March 11, there had been no formal criminal complaint and no active criminal investigation, according to an APD spokesman.

Jessica Bakeman

Two days later, Bakeman, a political reporter who formerly covered the New York Capitol in Albany, alleged in New York magazine that Cuomo was physically inappropriate with her on multiple occasions. “Keeping his grip on me as I practically squirmed to get away from him, the governor turned my body to face a different direction for yet another picture. He never let go of my hand,” she wrote. Cuomo allegedly responded to her discomfort by saying, “I’m sorry. Am I making you uncomfortable? I thought we were going steady.”

The same day, New York magazine published an in-depth cover story on the culture of harassment and dysfunction in the governor’s office. One former staffer, Joel Wertheimer, characterized upper level employees—including Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s top aide and one of several high-ranking women the governor has historically pointed to as evidence of his lack of chauvinism—as both “mean” and “bad at their jobs.” The New York Times published a similar piece, describing the Cuomo administration as a toxic environment for women.

Alyssa McGrath

On March 19, new allegations of workplace harassment emerged from a current employee of the Cuomo administration. Alyssa McGrath, who works as an aide at the governor’s office, told the New York Times about a number of inappropriate comments and interactions. She alleged that Cuomo referred to her and her co-worker as “mingle mamas,” commented on her looks and marital status, and looked down her shirt to comment on a necklace she was wearing. McGrath is the first current aide to speak publicly about her allegations, and she also commented on the serious accusation made by an anonymous current aide that Cuomo groped her. She said that the aide, a co-worker, described the incident in detail to her after the Times Union report came out.

According to the Times, a lawyer for Cuomo responded to the allegations, saying, “He has made clear that he has never made inappropriate advances or inappropriately touched anyone.”

Sherry Vill

On March 29, another woman, who is not an employee of the governor’s office, alleged that Cuomo forcibly kissed her. Sherry Vill, 55, alleges Cuomo grabbed her face and kissed her cheek in a “highly sexual manner” when he visited her home in Greece, NY, after flood damage in 2017. “The whole thing was so strange and inappropriate and still makes me nervous and afraid because of his power and position,” Vill said during a press conference, according to The Guardian.

Cuomo’s lawyer responded to the allegations, stating that, “During times of crisis, the Governor has frequently sought to comfort New Yorkers with hugs and kisses” and that he has greeted both men and women with kisses “for the past 40 years.”

Cuomo’s Response

On March 3, after Boylan, Bennett, and Ruch had publicly stated their accounts, but before Hinton, Liss, Bakeman, or the unnamed seventh woman came forward, Cuomo issued a public statement. “At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny,” he said. “I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.”

“To be clear,” Cuomo added, “I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to.”

Some called his statement a “non-apology” and said it was insulting to women.

The Fallout

Cuomo’s office asked the state attorney general’s office to launch an outside investigation. On March 8, New York Attorney General Letitia James named two lawyers, Joon H. Kim and Anne L. Clark, to lead an independent investigation into these accusations, which is likely to take months. Kim, a former federal prosecutor, and Clark, an employment lawyer, will have subpoena power to request documents and compel witnesses.

The New York State Assembly also opened an impeachment inquiry into Cuomo’s conduct on March 11. This gives the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee jurisdiction to investigate the allegations and could ultimately lead to impeachment. If so, it would be the first such effort in New York in over a century.

A growing number of elected officials across party lines, including New York Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have called on Cuomo to resign. “Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York,” they said in a joint statement. Twelve of the 19 House Democrats from New York—including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler—have also called on Cuomo to resign.

On March 16, President Biden said in an interview with ABC News that Cuomo should resign if the investigation confirms the women’s claims. If that’s the case, Biden said, “I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too.”

This post will continue to be updated.

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You’re Pronouncing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Daughter’s Name Completely Wrong



You're Pronouncing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Daughter's Name Completely Wrong

Congratulations are in order for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle,who shared yesterday that they’ve welcomed their second child into the world — a daughter named Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.

Born on Friday, June 4 at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California, Lili weighed in at 7 lbs 11 oz. Both she and Meghan “are healthy and well.” In an official statement, the two shared that the name was thoughtfully chosen to pay tribute to Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, and grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, whose family nickname is Lilibet.

“She is more than we could have ever imagined, and we remain grateful for the love and prayers we’ve felt from across the globe,” Meghan and Harry said in the statement. “Thank you for your continued kindness and support during this very special time for our family.”

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Meanwhile, the royal family‘s Twitter account tweeted out: “Congratulations to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the birth of Lilibet Diana! The Queen, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted with the news. Lilibet is Her Majesty’s 11th great-grandchild.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also declared: “We are all delighted by the happy news of the arrival of baby Lili. Congratulations to Harry, Meghan and Archie.”

Whether this is the first time you’ve heard the name Lilibet or you immediately recognized it from watching The Crown, you might be wondering how to say the name correctly.

So, how do you pronounce Lilibet?

Lilibet is pronounced “Lily-bet.” You can hear the proper pronunciation in the Youtube video below:

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According to the Sussexes, Lilibet will go by “Lili.” That said, it’s still good to know how to pronounce Lilibet, especially if an opportunity arises to discuss royal baby facts at the family dinner table.

Congrats again to the happy family of four!

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Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Are ‘Telling Friends That They’re Together’ as a Couple



Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Are ‘Telling Friends That They're Together’ as a Couple

All the reports about Bennifer’s back-on romance aren’t downplaying how serious Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are about dating again, just one month after they were seen publicly hanging for the first time. Entertainment Tonight reports that Affleck and Lopez have defined their relationship and are telling their friends that they’re a couple. This is not some casual fling.

Affleck and Lopez, for context, were originally engaged in the early 2000s. They ultimately called off their engagement for good and went their separate ways in early 2004.

Fast forward to summer 2021, and “J.Lo and Ben are very much a couple and have been telling friends that they’re together,” Entertainment Tonight‘s source said. “When they first reconnected, they had to see if the spark was still there because it had been a while. It was, so now they are both fully in it.”

They aren’t ignoring the past though, the source added: “[They have] talked about the past and why things didn’t work out. They are both hopeful about their relationship this time around and putting the effort in. They have both matured and are on the same page and it has been easy.”

Lopez in particular “is elated and really trusts Ben. Ben is more traditional and low-key in his values and Jen is into that. She likes that they can go on dates and have fun. She also thinks that Ben is extremely smart and has a lot of great input.”

ET’s update comes after People reported last week that the two intend to spend a lot of time together this summer despite being bicoastal. (J.Lo is based in Miami, and Affleck is in L.A.) Lopez and Affleckare discussing summer plans,” People‘s source said. “[They] want to spend as much time together as possible. They also want to take a trip.” Generally, “they are both acting very comfortable in their relationship.”

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Shailene Woodley Revealed She and Aaron Rodgers Moved In Together as Soon as They Started Dating



Shailene Woodley Revealed She and Aaron Rodgers Moved In Together as Soon as They Started Dating

Shailene Woodley and Aaron Rodgers’ surprise engagement came after a rapid-fire romance that started with the two moving in together, Woodley revealed in a new interview with Shape.

“Starting a relationship where you immediately move in with someone—because it’s a pandemic and you can’t just get on a plane and go back and forth on weekends—taught us a lot about each other very quickly,” she said. “We jumped in headfirst and got some of the sticky bits out of the way early.”

Woodley added that while quarantine helped them get to know each other faster because they weren’t traveling for work as much, “I have the perspective that I would have met Aaron in any context, any space in time, because I feel we were meant to be together.”

Woodley and Rodgers’ exact relationship start date isn’t known. But Rodgers was in a relationship with Danica Patrick until July 2020, and Woodley described herself as single in April 2020.

Their engagement was revealed in February 2021, but Woodley later admitted they had actually been privately engaged for a while before the public found out. “Yes, we are engaged, we are engaged,” she told Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show in late February. “But for us, it’s not new news, you know, so it’s kind of funny, everybody right now is freaking out over it, and we’re like, yeah, we’ve been engaged for a while. Yeah, we got engaged a while ago. It’s been—he’s, first off, just a wonderful, incredible human being, but I never thought I’d be engaged to someone who threw balls [footballs, specifically] for a living. I never thought as a little girl, ‘Yeah. I’m going to marry someone who throws balls, yeah!’ But he’s really just so good at it, and I’m really impressed. He can throw fast balls, he can throw slow balls, high balls, low balls. When I first met him, I think my dog like pulled me aside and was like, ‘If you don’t date this dude, I will disown you as my mother because the three feet that I run with you when you throw a ball is nothing compared to the marathon I’m able to run with him.’”

A source close to Rodgers spoke to People in February about how shocked his friends were about his fast romance with Woodley. “It was a surprise that they got so close so quickly,” the source said. “I mean, it really felt like one day he was with Danica Patrick, and then suddenly he was with Shailene. It happened super fast.”

“It was so fast that at first, we thought she was just a rebound,” the source continued. “There was no way this could be so serious. Everyone thought it was a casual thing because that’s what he was telling everyone, even when it was clearly not a casual thing.

“Now we realize that it was clearly a lot more serious than they told anyone,” the source added. “All this goes to show that this must be a very special relationship for him and for her. So everyone wishes them happiness.”

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