Historically joke-inept New York governor Andrew Cuomo tried his hand at humor again on Wednesday: After being crowded by a gaggle of reporters, he quipped, “We need space. Or I’ll bring you all up on charges under the Me Too movement.”
Journalists on the scene tweeted that the governor was mostly greeted by “silent astonishment.”
The remark raises several questions — first of all: Excuse me? But also: Why would someone make light of sexual assault and harassment, especially in a room filled with people bearing recording devices? And, just on a semantic level, how would one even go about bringing up charges under a social justice movement? That’s not how the legal system works! There are no “Me Too” charges in New York State, which Cuomo likely knows, as he didn’t even have a “Me Too” process for dealing with sexual misconduct within his own administration.
This isn’t Cuomo’s first gaffe when it comes to talking about sexual violence. In 2017, after a reporter asked him a question in which she referenced a former aide to the governor who had been accused of sexual harassment, he scoldingly told her she was doing a “disservice to women” by focusing on one specific case rather than society in general. And in 2018, he opened a Women for Cuomo event by remarking that it was a “pleasure” to be in a room full of women. (“Could be worse, could be worse. Usually, it is worse,” he added.) Unsurprisingly, the remark was not well received.
A good strategy going forward, perhaps, would be to just refrain from saying anything at all.