Reviews | Chris Cuomo sexually harassed me. I hope he uses his power to make a difference.



Now, given Mr. Cuomo’s role as a supporter and adviser to his brother, I again question his relationship to truth and accountability. Has this man always cared “deeply” and “deeply” about issues of sexual harassment? Does he believe in responsibility enough to step up and take meaningful action?

I have no hard feelings against Mr. Cuomo; I’m not looking for him to lose his job. Rather, it is an opportunity for him and his employer to show what accountability can look like in the #MeToo era. Accountability has been a cornerstone of the #MeToo movement, leading to tangible results and even justice, consequences for stalkers and the possibility of real change. Responsibility was made clear following the New York State Attorney General’s investigation of Governor Cuomo, which not only described cases of sexual harassment and abuse inflicted on at least 11 women by him, but also identified a small circle of advisers who helped guide him through this political and legal crisis. I call them the facilitators. The official report documented the inner workings of these people, including Mr. Cuomo, and laid out their strategies and tactics to protect the governor.

Mr. Cuomo’s name appears in a thread with other advisers over the weekend, Governor Cuomo’s second accuser, Charlotte Bennett, came forward. The attorney general’s report says it was part of “ongoing and regular discussions on how to respond publicly to the allegations” and appeared to advise the governor “to express his contrition.” The Washington Post also reported that Mr. Cuomo urged his brother to take a defiant stance at the start of the scandal and not to quit. We all know that Mr. Cuomo was consulted by his brother; what has never been revealed, and what Mr. Cuomo was not held accountable for, is the full extent of the advice he gave his brother and whether his advice and role in helping shaping the defense of a sitting governor (one under investigation by Mr. Cuomo’s own network) were in line with CNN’s standards and values. (In May, Mr. Cuomo apologized for participating in strategic appeals with the governor and his staff, calling it a “mistake.” CNN called the conversations “inappropriate.”)

After Governor Cuomo’s resignation, it didn’t surprise me that attention turned to the facilitators. A number of them have been dismissed or forced to resign from their important posts. It surprised me to learn that Roberta Kaplan, the president of Time’s Up, a nonprofit created at the start of the #MeToo movement to fight sexual harassment, was involved in efforts to defend the governor. She resigned quickly, followed by the Chairman and CEO of the group, Tina Tchen.

Finally, over the Labor Day weekend, as Mr. Cuomo walked around in his “Truth” t-shirt, the entire Time’s Up Global Leadership Board, made up of 71 people has been dissolved, including Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Brie Larson, Tessa Thompson, Laura Dern, America Ferrera, Kerry Washington, Tarana Burke, Alyssa Milano, Gretchen Carlson and Amy Schumer. Members were reportedly informed on September 5 via email from a Time’s Up co-founder, by informing them: “Your individual resignations are not necessary, because the group no longer exists. I can’t remember an organization that ever acted so quickly and comprehensively to hold itself accountable after top leaders turned away from their founding mission.

As the fallout continued in Governor Cuomo’s circle of advisers – two former staff resigned their outside positions and the chair of the Human Rights Campaign was summarily fired – Mr. Cuomo and CNN appear to be moved on. As recently as last month, he was suggesting he hadn’t crossed a line in helping Governor Cuomo, telling his CNN viewers, “I’m not an advisor. I am a brother. A brother calls to comfort you in private after hours. A counselor connects to staff emails and crisis conference calls, gives talking points, and helps shape the narrative.


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