(CNN) — A former New York capitol beat reporter penned a first-person piece for New York Magazine, where she described what it was like covering Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, alleging multiple instances of sexual harassment.
Jessica Bakeman, now a reporter at WLRN in Miami, wrote that she was 25 years old when she was covering Cuomo, and alleged that he often touched her without her consent — “on my arms, my shoulders, the small of my back, my waist” — and described one incident in 2014 at a holiday party at the Executive Mansion where he took her hand, put his arm around her, his hand on her waist and held her “firmly in place.”
It’s the latest allegation of inappropriate behavior against Cuomo, who has been called upon to resign from leading Democratic lawmakers. An investigation into his conduct led by the New York attorney general’s office is underway.
Bakeman added that Cuomo did this “while indicating to a photographer he wanted us to pose for a picture.” She said he said, in front of her colleagues, “I’m sorry. Am I making you uncomfortable? I thought we were going steady,” in a moment Bakeman described as humiliating.
Bakeman described the incident as one of the most egregious ways Cuomo sexually harassed her but wrote that it was one of multiple incidents.
“I never thought the governor wanted to have sex with me. It wasn’t about sex. It was about power,” Bakeman wrote. “He wanted me to know that I was powerless, that I was small and weak, that I did not deserve what relative power I had: a platform to hold him accountable for his words and actions. He wanted me to know that he could take my dignity away at any moment with an inappropriate comment or a hand on my waist.”
CNN has reached out to the Cuomo administration for direct comment on her allegations, but at a news conference Friday, Cuomo generally denied new allegations and urged the public to “wait for the facts.”
“Women have a right to come forward and be heard,” Cuomo said at the news conference. “I did not do what has been alleged, period.”
Bakeman wrote that she feels Cuomo bullied both men and women, in her experience, but that he “never let me forget I was a woman.”
“It’s not that Cuomo spares men in his orbit from his trademark bullying and demeaning behavior. But the way he bullies and demeans women is different,” Bakeman wrote. “He uses touching and sexual innuendo to stoke fear in us. That is the textbook definition of sexual harassment.”
CNN has also reached out to Bakeman for further comment on her article.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday afternoon joined a majority of New York congressional Democrats, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, in calling for Cuomo to resign in the wake of sexual harassment allegations and his handling of Covid-19 deaths at state nursing homes.