Messages from Cuomo accusers, staffers describe 'dehumanizing' workplace

Messages and diary entries from New York Gov. Cuomo's accusers, staffers describe 'dehumanizing and traumatizing' workplace.

8/4/2021 4:17:00 AM

Messages and diary entries from New York Gov. Cuomo's accusers, staffers describe 'dehumanizing and traumatizing' workplace.

Copies of text messages and more included in the investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo offer insight into what staffers called an abusive workplace.

“My life is spiraling out of control,” she wrote.“charlotte you need to leave,” her friend responded. “You need to get out right f------ now.”Bennett’s friend told her to return to the Albany, New York, hotel where she’d been living and pack her bags like she wouldn’t be coming back, to write everything down with times and dates and to keep it all in a secure place.

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“This workplace has been toxic from the start in every possible way and i PROMISE you this is not all there is,” her friend said. “I f------ promise this is not it.”Bennett was responding to an interaction with her boss, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, that had her about to “burst into tears” and “shaking,” according to screenshots included in

New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo. Bennett’s June texts — along with other messages, diary entries and emails — characterize the governor’s office as a toxic and abusive work environment.

Charlotte Bennett's messages to a friend on June 5, 2020. The expletives have been blurred by NBC News.State of New York Attorney General's OfficeEven months before the June conversation, Bennett had expressed having difficult interactions with Cuomo in her role as an aide for the governor. Cuomo told her to memorize the lyrics to “Danny Boy” and quizzed her on them in May 2019, she texted a friend. A few months later, she messaged a friend that Cuomo had only spoken to her twice that day, each time to tell her he didn’t like her hair.

“Definitely quitting,” she told a fellow staffer. “Genuinely quitting as soon as possible, it’s taking everything in me to deal with this calmly.”She messaged the same staffer, who was not identified, on New Year’s Day last year to tell them Cuomo had asked her to sing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

“The hazing never stops,” Bennett’s colleague responded.But a few weeks later, Bennett told her parents she felt she had a good day with her boss, telling them she and Cuomo had a long discussion about her career. She told investigators that on Jan. 19, 2020, she went to drop off a speech for Cuomo at the governor’s mansion and he asked her to “tell him something.”

Bennett recalled talking to Cuomo about how his 2015 legislation “Enough Is Enough” changed her life and disclosed to him that she had been sexually assaulted in college. She told him how it led to her interest in working in the office, according to her testimony to investigators.

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She messaged her father that day saying she had"a long chat w gov today though.""I kinda hate that it helps, but it does," she wrote."An hour or two w him shouldn’t erase all the bullshit but it helps. It was a long and emotional convo."

Bennett didn’t have many notable interactions with Cuomo after that but happened to see him later that year in May, the report said. Cuomo allegedly asked about other staffers in the office, whether they were “hitting” on her and whether she was interested in marrying them, according to her text messages and testimony.

Then they discussed an upcoming speech at her alma mater, Hamilton College, and in offering advice about how to deliver the speech, Cuomo allegedly repeated “you were raped” at her forcefully, multiple times.“The way he was repeating ‘you were raped and abused and attacked and assaulted and betrayed’ over and over again while looking me directly in the eyes was something out of a horror movie,” Bennett messaged a co-worker. “It was like he was testing me.”

Charlotte Bennett, a former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, in Warren, Vt., on Feb. 27.Elizabeth Frantz / The New York Times via Redux fileThe interaction was uncomfortable, she said, describing how she had tried to change the subject by asking how the pandemic was affecting Cuomo. He allegedly told her he was lonely and they discussed celebrity crushes, according to her testimony and messages.

Cuomo said in a Tuesday statement that he was simply explaining how he would choose to give the speech, “including delivering it in a forceful manner by pointedly emphasizing to her audience the powerful words that she was raped and then violated a second time by her school in how they handled her assault.”

Their conversations allegedly escalated into the June 5 conversation, where Bennett says Cuomo discussed his desire for a girlfriend in Albany. She told investigators, and referenced in her text messages, that the governor had asked about age differences in relationships, according to the report.

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Bennett, who had just turned 25, said Cuomo told her he’d have a relationship with anyone over the age of 22 and asked whether she’d ever been with an older man.“This is grooming,” she said in text messages. “We talked about my relationships and why I am skeptical of monogamy and my past tattoos and his ex etc etc.”

When Bennett tried to change the subject by discussing a tattoo she wanted, Cuomo allegedly told her to get it on her butt, she told investigators.Cuomo denying wrongdoingIn a pre-recorded video statement Tuesday, Cuomo accused the report of being tainted by bias and said he intended to “share the truth” with his own report.

"The facts are much different than has been portrayed," he said."I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances."Cuomo also responded to Bennett’s recounting of events in a statement from his office refuting a number of allegations made in the attorney general’s report. He characterized their relationship as one of a paternal mentorship. He described his comments to her regarding loneliness as a discussion on mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.

“His comments had nothing to do with a desire to be physical with Ms. Bennett. He remembers speaking with her about her own living situation during the pandemic and the isolation, and simply wanted to share what he believed was a feeling felt by many others during this difficult time,” the statement said.

Cuomo’s office also denied advising Bennett to get a tattoo on any specific body part but advised her to get a tattoo that could be hidden due to future job prospects.Charlotte Bennett's direct messages with fellow Cuomo accuser Lindsey Boylan on Twitter in December 2020. The text was redacted by the AG's office.

State of New York Attorney General's Office“The Governor understands that Ms. Bennett took his comments and conversations with her to mean something else,” he said. “He never intended to make Ms. Bennett feel uncomfortable or suggest anything untoward in what he thought was a paternalistic and mentoring relationship.”

Bennett later asked to be transferred, leaving the governor’s health policy team and ultimately quitting her job by November. She told Lindsey Boylan, who had worked for Cuomo and also accused him of misconduct, in a private Twitter message in December that she was “scared to imagine” what would happen if she rejected Cuomo.

Read more: NBC News »

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How many females...veteran teachers...had principals...who sexually 'harassed' them? Male authority figures have been harassing for decades...upon decades; but, want happened to the others accused? Kavanaugh?Gaetz? Jordan?…TRUMP?!?! How many females...veteran teachers...had principals...who sexually 'harassed' them? Male authority figures have been harassing for decades...upon decades; but, want happened to the others accused? Gorsuch? Gaetz? TRUMP?!?!

All these comments about how they should have quit are not thinking about the career suicide they had to wrangle with - you can’t just quit without something else down the pike. For your own survival, for your next job. I’ve been there too. These poor girls. 'dehumanizing and traumatizing' workplace - yet they stayed working in this environment ... most with common sense leave and go elsewhere and report. CharlotteBennett

They could have quit!

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New York Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, probe findsAndrew Cuomo faces mounting pressure to resign, including from President Biden and other onetime Democratic allies, after a probe finds he sexually harassed nearly a dozen women and worked to retaliate against one of his accusers. there are rumors that a Ugandan activist who's living in Turkey has been arrested by the Ugandan sponsored agents.. Let's not see another Kashogi incident happening in Turkey.. Something has to be done to prevent this.

New York Lawmakers Urge Andrew Cuomo To Resign In Wake Of Sexual Harassment ReportSens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand called on the governor to step down, and a few state lawmakers have already drafted articles of impeachment. You should follow him out senator At least this time they waited for a real investigation to be completed. And Franken was never as creepy as Cuomo, besides being a vastly better Democrat.

New York Gov. Cuomo Sexually Harassed Multiple Women, Investigation FindsNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women during his time in office, created a hostile work environment and retaliated against at least one former employee, the state attorney general said. nydems you going to do anything about this or keep pretending not to see it A Democrat BadgeofHonor Everyone’s favorite is done DONE…they’re about to go HAM and try and throw the whole man away!

Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, including employees, New York attorney general findsThe governor has denied touching anyone inappropriately, but has acknowledged that he may have acted in ways that made people feel uncomfortable. He should be removed from office immediately. Al franken Where is metoo?Cancel culture? The police?

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Sexually Harassed Multiple Women, Attorney General SaysNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, the investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James states. The report was released Tuesday morning. The investigation also states…