December 17, 2017

Meanwhile Back in Albany (v13)

Nathaniel Brooks/NY Times photo
It's everywhere, the insidious scourge of sexual harassment.

Hollywood. The media. The House and Senate. State governments. Doctors offices and hospitals. Schools. Athletic institutions, including the Olympics. The music industry. The boardroom. Restaurant kitchens.

It's everywhere - including, allegedly, in the administration of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York City, Lisa Marie Cater alleges that William (call me Sam) Hoyt, who worked as head of the Empire State Development Corporation, repeatedly made unwanted advances, and further that the harassment was reported to and ignored by Cuomo's office, which is why Cuomo is a named defendant in the suit. The governor's office  denies ignoring the complaints.

Meanwhile, back in Albany, the governor had the opportunity to respond to a question from Karen Dewitt, a reporter for New York Public Radio, on this issue, and it's safe to say that it didn't go well for the Sonofa Gov.

Dewitt noted the Hoyt allegations and asked Cuomo what he could do differently, and here's how he responded.
You have it going on in journalism. What are you going to do differently?
OK - sure, that's true, but this is a reporter talking to a governor who is a defendant in a sexual harassment case involving an appointee of the governor. There was some exchange after that comment, including a different reporter pointing out that the question was about state government. That didn't sit well.
No, it's about you and journalism (pointing his finger at the other reporter). And it's about you and journalism (turning to Dewitt and pointing again). And it's about state government. And it's about carpentry and it's about training forces... (Note: that last one may not be accurate, it was hard to understand what he said.)
Again, Dewitt asked if there was something that Cuomo could do differently. Apparently, his only option on that was to lecture Dewitt, using his best professorial intonation, especially at the end of this exchange.
We will have policies in state government, obviously, that affect state government, but I think you miss the point. When you "it's state government" you do a disservice to women, with all due respect, even though you're a woman.
Um... what the hell is that?

Asking the gov about what his administration will do about sexual harassment is doing a disservice to women, "with all due respect?" I don't know about you, but most of the time when someone drops those four words, 'all due respect' is the furthest thing from the speaker's mind.

It's about as condescending a thing he could have said, other than maybe pointing out that the reporter was a woman. Oh wait -- he did that too.

He went on with the lecture, with a heavy emphasis added on journalists and the journalism profession.
It's not government. It's society. It was Harvey Weinstein in the arts industry. It's comedians. It's politicians. It's chefs, right? It's systemic. It's societal. It's not one person in one area. It's not just Charlie Rose, right? It's not just Matt Lauer. It's not just journalists. It's societal.
Finally, slowing down the pace of his answer to something slower than a school closing chyron, hie finished his lecture.
Understand. The. Breadth. Of. The. Problem.
Which, frankly, is exactly what Dewitt and the other reporters were hoping Cuomo would do, specifically as it relates to him, not as it relates to anyone else. To her credit, Dewitt tried one last time to get him to name one thing he'd do to make things different in his administration. In a classic deflection, he changed the subject.
No!  It's called the State of the State. Come and cover it... 
I swear, you could almost hear his feet stamping.

Boy, I miss his father.

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