New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing new allegations of sexual harassment, as a former aide said over the weekend that he had once asked her questions about her sex life.

What’s going on?

The News York Times reports that a former aide to Cuomo said he once asked her “whether she was monogamous in her relationships and if she had ever had sex with older men.”

The aide, Charlotte Bennett, told The New York Times that the incident happened in spring 2020 during New York’s fight against the novel coronavirus.

  • Specifically, Bennett, who is 25, said the incident happened at the State Capitol office when she was alone with Cuomo. She said Cuomo asked her a number of questions about her romantic life, including if she thought age made a difference in romantic relationships.
  • He reportedly told her that he was open to relationships with women in their 20s, The New York Times reports.

Response:

Cuomo told The New York Times he “never made advances toward Ms. Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.”

  • Cuomo said he wants an independent investigation done into the matter.
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Cuomo also issued a statement about the allegations, saying he was sorry for the “playful” banter.

“At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way. I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.

“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 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.

“That’s why I have asked for an outside, independent review that looks at these allegations.”

Flashback:

Lindsey Boylan, a former state economic development official, said Cuomo harassed her on many different occasions from 2015 to 2018, according to the Daily Beast. She said Cuomo had forcibly kissed her after making inappropriate comments for years. Cuomo reportedly asked her to play strip poker, too, according to the Daily Beast.

“Telling my truth isn’t about seeking revenge. I was proud to work in the Cuomo administration. For so long I had looked up to the governor. But his abusive behavior needs to stop,” Boylan said.

Bigger picture:

The allegations come amid a whirlwind of controversy for the New York governor. In mid-February, Cuomo faced new allegations that he and his aides covered up the death toll in nursing homes in New York in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, which I wrote about before.