Former TV news producer and journalist Shelley Ross alleges that Cuomo inappropriately touched her at a colleague’s going-away party in June 2005 when the pair worked for ABC News.
“He walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock,” Ross wrote in the article. Ross goes on to write that Cuomo allegedly said to her, “I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss.” She then pushed him away and left the party with her husband, who she claims witnessed the incident.
Ross added that Cuomo later apologized for his behavior in an email, a picture of which is included in The Times article. In the email, Cuomo describes the way he touched Ross as a “hearty greeting,” before writing, “as a husband i can empathize with not liking to see my wife patted as such… so pass along my apology to your very good and noble husband… and I apologize to you as well, for even putting you in such a position.”
“As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature. It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it,” Cuomo said in a statement to the Times, which is included in Ross’ article.
While Ross writes that she never considered the incident “sexual in nature,” she explained, “his form of sexual harassment was a hostile act meant to diminish and belittle his female former boss in front of the staff.” She added, “I have no grudge against Mr. Cuomo. I’m not looking for him to lose his job. Rather, this is an opportunity for him and his employer to show what accountability can look like in the #MeToo era.”
These allegations come just a month after Cuomo’s brother Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation as governor of New York after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment, sexism, and creating a toxic work environment.