In an op-ed for the New York Times, Shelley Ross, a former executive producer for ABC and CBS, said Cuomo grabbed her buttocks at a going-away party for a colleague in 2005 during his time at ABC.
“When Mr. Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, he walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock,” she wrote.
She said he commented: “I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss” while her husband was standing right beside her.
Ross said she responded, “No you can’t” and pushed him away.
Soon after the incident, Ross said Cuomo emailed her an “apology,” saying he was “ashamed” of his behavior.
“[T]hough my hearty greeting was a function of being glad to see you … christian slater got arrested for a (kind of) similar act, (though borne of an alleged negative intent, unlike my own)…and as a husband I can empathize with not liking to see my wife patted as such,” he wrote in an email, adding that he also wanted to apologize to Ross’s “very good and noble husband.”
Ross said this did not come across as a legitimate apology, but as “an attempt to provide himself with legal and moral coverage to evade accountability.”
In a statement, Cuomo acknowledged that the incident happened but claimed it “was not sexual in nature.”
“It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it,” he said.
Cuomo’s older brother, disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was recently forced to resign over similar allegations of sexual harassment from dozens of women.