STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2021 – New York, NY – It has become untenable for the Governor to remain in office. Regardless of whether the Governor heeds calls to resign, NOW-NY and its members are adamant that a full and thorough investigation goes forward.
As women, listening to these firsthand accounts is like a punch in the gut. It’s all too familiar – because most of us – at one time or another – have encountered this feeling – of being diminished, of being sexualized, of being put into an uncomfortable situation by an inappropriate word or touch. This behavior cannot be tolerated in any workplace, much less in the halls of our state Capitol by those entrusted to set the standard and the laws for all of us.
The ongoing investigation must examine the full scope of sexual harassment that occurred and how complaints, in this case and others, were handled by administration officials. Women across the state – and particularly the courageous women who have come forward – deserve a full and public accounting of what happened. This will be essential to creating government workplaces where powerful elected officials don’t feel entitled to objectify, proposition or harass employees, and where the mechanisms are in place to truly hold those who don’t abide by the rules accountable.
It is simple. Women must be able to go to work and get through the day without experiencing sexual harassment.
Like many who have come before him, the Governor’s demise will not change the culture of sexual harassment that has plagued Albany and state government for many years. In 2017, after a string of elected officials were exposed for sexual harassment, NOW-NY launched a whistleblower hotline for state workers to report abuses. We learned that sexual harassment infects the lives of far too many women, and reporting it brings risk and uncertainty.
It takes courage to come forward and put your name behind your story, especially against a powerful individual. What does it take to change men’s entitlement? That’s a question that it will take courage for men to answer.