Ana Liss, one of over a half-dozen women to accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual misconduct, said in a statement Thursday that she sat down for two hours with the state’s attorney general, who is investigating the allegations.
She said she told Attorney General Letitia James about “instances of unsolicited attention” she received from the governor as well as “the sexually hostile work environment perpetuated by him and senior staff.”
“During my time in the Executive Chamber, it was a toxic, verbally abusive, retaliatory workplace, especially for young women like myself,” she said. “Sexual harassment on the governor’s behalf is a significant piece of the investigation, but he neither is nor was the only person…responsible for offensive conduct.”
Examples of that alleged conduct, she said, range from “scatological name-calling to outright objectification of women’s bodies.”
Liss worked as an aide to Cuomo between 2013 and 2015 – and she said she was excited early on at the prospect of landing a coveted fellowship in the governor’s office.
She has accused him of touching her back and kissing her hand at different times, calling her “sweetheart” at work, asking about her personal life and other allegedly inappropriate actions.
In a tweet Thursday, she explained having a framed photo of the governor and her past support for him.
“I’m proud of having worked there and having survived,” she wrote. “He’s easier to tolerate when he’s not your boss. Also, not until days ago did it cross my mind that I could or should speak up without fear of retaliation.”
But, as she told WNYC Wednesday, it wasn’t what it was cracked up to be when standards required wearing “high heels” and looking and acting “a certain way” when the governor was around.
“I look forward to continued cooperation with this effort, and I support others who may wish to come forward,” she concluded.
Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But the governor is facing growing backlash from both parties as he refuses calls to resign besieged by both the sexual misconduct allegations and a scandal over his administration’s underreporting of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes.
Democratic state Assemblyman Ron Kim, who has emerged as a leading critic of Cuomo’s actions ever since details of the alleged nursing home cover-up emerged, linked all the controversy to one issue Thursday.
“Abuse of power is about doing whatever you want,” Kim tweeted. “Hide death tolls, sexually harass women, exact retribution on your victims, reward loyalists with chancellorships & vaccines, have press conferences without press, share only what you want, and use your office to bury the rest.”