Founding partner Debra Katz, representing Charlotte Bennett, released the following statement today after Governor Cuomo’s personal attorney, Rita Glavin, held a virtual briefing:
“Governor Cuomo’s apologies rang hollow when he made them. His excuses for his behavior—that times had changed and he was not aware that kissing and hugging subordinate employees was unlawful—were pathetic. And his more recent attempts to paint himself as a victim of a politically motivated takedown or a patriot who stepped down for the sake of New Yorkers were inane. Apologies without change are nothing more than manipulation.
Today, the Governor is back to showing his true colors. He unleashed his lawyer and PR apparatus in an effort to smear Charlotte and the other women who courageously came forward. He cares not a whit for the people he has harmed.
The Governor’s lawyer claimed today that she possesses “new information” relating to Charlotte’s credibility. Her rank insinuation that Charlotte is a liar flies in the face of the Attorney General’s express finding that Charlotte’s allegations against the Governor were credible. It also contradicts the Governor’s own Special Counsel, Judy Mogul, and Chief of Staff, Jill DesRosiers, who found Charlotte’s allegations credible when she first reported them more than a year ago. Charlotte will not be intimidated by the Governor or his operatives.
Since the Governor appears not to understand the very workplace protections he signed into law, we remind him that disparaging the women who reported his sexual harassment at work is retaliation, plain and simple—no matter whether they still work for him.
To reiterate: An apology without change is merely manipulation. The Governor’s efforts to explain away his behavior as benign are classic examples of gaslighting, and his claims that he did not know his actions were unlawful are foolish. Professed ignorance of the law is not, and never has been, an excuse. Finally, smearing Charlotte, as his lawyer did today, is actionable post-employment retaliation. The Governor would be wise to think twice before holding another press conference.”