Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday responded to bombshell sexual harassment allegations from multiple women, saying he “never touched anyone inappropriately” while showing photos of himself embracing and kissing celebrities, politicians and other New Yorkers.
Cuomo, in a video response to to a report on the allegations from the New York state Attorney General’s Office, alleged that some complaints against him have “sought to unfairly characterize and weaponize everyday interactions that I’ve had with any number of New Yorkers” when he has touched people on the cheek and kissed their face.
“I actually learned it from my mother and from my father. It is meant to convey warmth, nothing more. Indeed, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of photos of me using the exact same gesture,” Cuomo said, displaying photos of him embracing and kissing New Yorkers, leaders such as former President Bill Clinton and others.
“I do it with everyone, Black and white, young and old, straight and LGBTQ, powerful people, friends, strangers, people who I meet on the street.”
But many journalists, commentators and other social media users knocked Cuomo for displaying the photos while responding to sexual harassment allegations.
“Gov Cuomo apologized but insisted that NY AG investigation saying he sexually harassed women and created a toxic work environment is inaccurate,” PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor tweeted.
“He then played photos of himself kissing people and said he is bringing in a sexual harassment expert to train his staff. Wow.”
“Watching the photo montage of Cuomo kissing people, made me wonder if any of them were asked for consent?” New York City Council Member Ben Kallos tweeted.
Bombshell report: Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women in violation of law
Megyn Kelly asked on Twitter: “is there a slideshow of your mom & dad grabbing behinds, sliding hands under blouses & feeling breasts, rubbing the stomach & tickling the spine of state troopers, kissing employees on the lips, asking staffers to touch & play strip poker w/them,” referencing claims raised in the report.
Cuomo, in his video statement, said he knows “there are generational or cultural perspectives that, frankly, I hadn’t fully appreciated. And I have learned from this.” He added that the state will look into redesigning its sexual harassment training for government employees.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Cuomo responds to sexual harassment report with photos kissing people