Cuomo biographer details long history of Governor's abuse towards staff

  • A reporter who wrote a biography of Andrew Cuomo says he has a history of bullying subordinates. 
  • In a Vanity Fair essay, Michael Shnayerson told of several instances where Cuomo went after workers.
  • Cuomo has recently been accused of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior by multiple women. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A reporter who covered New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for years and wrote a biography on him in 2015 said the recent allegations against Cuomo are predictable given his long past. 

In an essay in Vanity Fair, Michael Shnayerson said Cuomo had a history of attacking subordinates. 

He said while Cuomo was serving as the assistant secretary and later as the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, he would call older staffers “white heads” as a jab at their age. 

He would also allegedly call them or “f–kheads” or “dumb f–ks.”

In the past few weeks, several women have alleged that Cuomo sexually assaulted them, behaved inappropriately, or touched them without their consent, and former staffers have detailed accounts of verbal abuse. The allegations have prompted Democratic lawmakers in New York, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, to call on Cuomo to resign.

Additionally, more than a dozen former aides have said they were either explicitly told or felt pressure to wear makeup and heels in Cuomo’s presence. 

One staffer told Shnayerson that after being the subject of Cuomo’s “wrath” that she would just “sit in a meeting and put my head down, and I’d say, ‘Not here.'” However, Cuomo still continued to attack her. 

In 1998, former HUD inspector general Susan Gaffney testified that Cuomo and his aides ran a smear campaign against her, saying that she was a racist because she produced audits that were critical of his administration. Cuomo would also call her at home on the weekends to berate her, she said.

Cuomo’s office did not reply to Insider’s email request for comment at the time of publication. 

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