New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, under fire over multiple accusations of sexual harassment from several women, including ex-staffers, has rejected calls for resignation and vehemently denies any wrongdoing.
Embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is facing a batch of sexual harassment accusations that he denies, is now feeling the heat from the Jewish community.
Cuomo is alleged to have once grumbled about a Jewish holiday ritual and humiliated a male aid by comparing him to a flat-chested transsexual, according to a profile of the governor detailed by The New York Times.
Having to put in a campaign appearance at a ceremony for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot during his run for attorney general in 2006 had irked Cuomo to the point that he is believed to have said, according to The Times:
“These people and their f—— tree houses.”
Observers of the ritual build makeshift huts and shelters out of plants and leaves, called Sukkahs, and eat and sometimes sleep in them to commemorate the time Jewish people spent living in the desert after escaping Egypt.
In response, a spokesman for Cuomo denied the cited comment had ever been made to an aide.
“His two sisters married Jewish men, and he has the highest respect for Jewish traditions,” the spokesman was cited as saying by the outlet.
While Andrew Cuomo has prided himself on a positive relationship with the Jewish community, things heated up last autumn when he ordered tightened restrictions on a number of Orthodox neighbourhoods during a major surge in COVID-19 cases, coincidentally, during Sukkot.
At the time, an Orthodox advocacy group, Agudath Israel, went as far as to sue Cuomo for violation of religious liberty by announcing the rule to restrict attendance at religious services in the specified neighbourhoods.
In December, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a decision in the case of Agudath Israel of America v. Cuomo, upholding challenges against New York State’s restrictions on attendance at houses of worship during COVID-19.
As Andrew Cuomo’s alleged propensity to publicly humiliate male and female aides, fuelling a toxic work environment, has been extensively reported amid the sexual harassment scandal, The Times has dug up another incident, dating to 2019.