A former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who recently accused him of sexual harassment, shared details about Cuomo’s “long pattern of harassing staffers, especially women” in his administration — including what she called “penis politics” as a form of intimidation.
Karen Hinton, who served as his press secretary when Cuomo was secretary of housing and urban development, said in an op-ed for the New York Daily News that she regularly witnessed Cuomo’s “misconduct with other women at HUD.”
He would “harass and bully” one top female aide “in ways to force her resignation,” Hinton claimed:
He snatched her up for meetings while she worked out in the HUD gym. She was told to return immediately with her workout clothes on, sweating.
I call this “penis politics,” a form of political art that’s not just about sexual abuse but is always about gender discrimination. Cuomo is a master of the dark art.
Cuomo also passed over a “highly qualified woman” for a position in favor of a “white guy” because “she was ‘not attractive enough’ for him,” Hinton alleged.
“I also saw him flirt with and tease a young, attractive staffer at HUD who began to think Cuomo cared for her. As a result, she and her boyfriend, who had worked for Cuomo, broke up. Cuomo’s flirt had been a payback move because the boyfriend had left his job without Cuomo’s permission,” she recalled.
“A few years later, the woman staffer reappeared in New York looking for a job, and Cuomo did nothing to help her,” Hinton added. “This was more about power and control than a sexual overture.”
He regularly manipulated his female staffers in the same way he is now trying to manipulate New Yorkers by claiming his inappropriate conduct was nothing more than “making people feel uncomfortable,” she wrote.
Hinton first accused Cuomo of impropriety in March, alleging he grabbed her after inviting her to his hotel room in 2000 even after she pushed him away.
Cuomo’s office denied the allegation, calling the encounter “made up.”
A total of 10 women, several of whom worked for Cuomo, have accused the governor of sexual harassment.
The allegations have led to two investigations: one by state Attorney general Letitia James, and another by the New York legislature, which is considering Cuomo’s impeachment.