Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Not Good


Text messages from a Cuomo accuser, via Gothamist.

Do we have to talk about Andrew? I'm afraid we do, just briefly.

This case seems to me different from all the other cases from harassment to assault, in a very particular way. Not that it's worse, though it's certainly very bad and I think Cuomo should resign now and will certainly get impeached if he doesn't.

It's that it's so textbook, if I can put it that way. Like so many of us, I have to go through this annoying harassment "training" every year, sometimes the one for managers, mostly watching videos and taking quizzes cumulating with a final test where you have to score 100%. It's irritating and repetitive. The filming and acting aren't great, though I'd like to shout out a couple of actors, one terrific trans woman with the courage to look really plain and irritable and office-workery, not even slightly exotic, and the asshole who keeps asking her horribly inappropriate questions, who gets a wonderful wistful look when he's getting chewed out ("We're not allowed to joke?") that makes you see him being an asshole because he thinks assholes are probably more attractive than he is—which doesn't mean his behavior should be tolerated, it shouldn't, but allows you a glimpse of the fact that he's still human.

The stories we hear about politicians are mostly not like that. They're kinky, like Eric Greitens of Missouri or my own Eric Schneiderman (it's been a few years since I got to remind you that my kids were in public school with his daughter), or set in a class to which I have no access and seems completely bizarre (Elliott Spitzer taking a plane to an assignation with a hooker, Donald Trump raping a woman in a Bergdorf's dressing room), or plain weird, like the Al Franken story (which I remain convinced was a ratfucking setup, but which also has the show-business and out-of-my-league character).

The Cuomo story is the thing I've been warned how to deal with in all those videos: toxic workplace, out-of-control guy, terror of retaliation. He touches them on the butt or the breast, he questions them about their love lives, he talks about wishing he had a girlfriend (I think this conduct mostly dates from after his breakup with whatshername, the TV chef, except I don't know exactly when that was and am not anxious to study it), and if you report it bad things happen to you. 

His defense, that he's just a regular Italian-American guy who kisses people a lot, is offensive, stereotyping, and deceptive. And disloyal:

“Democratic and Republican politicians, male and female alike, use handshakes, hugs, and kisses to connect with others,” [Cuomo's attorney Rita Glavin] said.

As further evidence, Ms. Glavin’s response also included photos of President Biden hugging a supporter at a campaign rally, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Mr. Cuomo himself.

When asked about the legal strategy, Mr. Biden, who has said that Mr. Cuomo should resign over the allegations in the report, said, “I am sure there are some embraces that were totally innocent. Apparently, the attorney general decided there were things that were not.”

The attorney general’s report found that Mr. Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, and engaged in “unwanted groping.”

Among other allegations, the report found that the governor had groped the breast of one of his aides and run his hand across the stomach of an unnamed state trooper.

Pete Souza, the White House photographer for the Obama administration, said on Twitter that he resented Mr. Cuomo using a photo he took of Mr. Obama as part of the governor’s defense.

Ms. Glavin’s use of the pictures echoed Mr. Cuomo’s own defense of his actions, which he claimed were well within the norm of political behavior. At a news conference on Tuesday, he said that he kissed constituents on the cheek regardless of their gender, race or how well he knew them.

Way to bring up the bogus Republican allegations against Biden, whose well-known "handsiness" really is something like that "Italian-American" behavior that some people find creepy. Maybe it is, and you should report it if it's causing you a problem, but it's not what this is.

The thing is so clear! I've been trained to deal with it! (Assure the victim that she's legally protected, report to HR.) He really has to go, as soon as possible.

No idea what's next, if you're interested. I hope Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul doesn't run for governor (not only that she's not familiar to the city, but she's just not a very lively politician). I liked Attorney General Tish James, but Cuomo's agents have kind of poisoned the field for her by spreading the (obviously false) story that the Cuomo investigation is her strategy for the governor's race.  I will mention that Democrats are almost unanimously ready to say goodbye to Andrew, once again utterly unlike Republicans:

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