Reason Roundup

Cuomo Asks America To Hold Off on Believing Women This Time

Plus: QAnon comes to CPAC, Virginia votes to legalize marijuana, and more...


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been accused by two women of sexual harassment. Both women were former staff of the Democratic governor.

Former Cuomo executive assistant Charlotte Bennett said that Cuomo harassed her last spring. The 25-year-old claims Cuomo made myriad inappropriate comments, including talking to her about his loneliness and his openness to dating younger women and asking her prying questions about her personal romantic attachments.

"I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared," Bennett told The New York Times in a detailed interview. "And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job." Not long thereafter, Bennett was transferred to another department.

Former Cuomo staffer Lindsey Boylan also claims that Cuomo harassed her when she was his employee. In a Medium post, Boylan alleges that Cuomo made inappropriate comments about her appearance, invited her to play strip poker while "on his taxpayer-funded jet," and kissed her on the lips without her consent—a move that under Cuomo's rules would be defined as sexual assault. (Boylan first publicly raised sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo back in December but did not go into specifics then.)

Cuomo's press secretary called Boylan's allegations "false" and Cuomo himself said in a Saturday statement that he "never made advances toward Ms. Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate." He is now calling for an independent review of the allegations.

In a statement last night, Cuomo added: "I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended." He also asked people not to rush to judgments before the investigation is concluded—a courtesy he has seldom shown when it comes to sexual harassment claims against folks other than him.

For instance, Cuomo immediately called for former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to resign when allegations surfaced against him.

"My personal opinion is that, given the damning pattern of facts and corroboration laid out in the article, I do not believe it is possible for Eric Schneiderman to continue to serve as Attorney General, and for the good of the office, he should resign," said Cuomo before an official investigation was even underway.

Cuomo also introduced and aggressively advocated for New York's 2015 "Enough Is Enough Act," bragging that it was "the most aggressive policy in the nation" to fight sexual assault and misconduct on college campuses. The bill spread nonsense statistics about sexual assault on college campuses and set "affirmative consent" as the standard for college sexual encounters, which many lawyers view as problematic and a threat to due process.

Cuomo has also lobbied for increased criminal penalties for nonconsensual touching of all sorts and for consensual touching that involves money.


QAnon comes to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an annual gathering of the conservative establishment that's grown increasingly unhinged alongside the GOP at large. A CPAC speaker "promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory from the event's main stage on Sunday, shortly before Donald Trump was scheduled to appear," notes Will Sommer at The Daily Beast. "Former congressional candidate Angela Stanton King…called for an investigation into whether QAnon's bizarre claims about a cabal of cannibal-pedophiles controlling the world and a mysterious figure named Q giving hidden messages to Trump supporters are real."


Virginia legalizes marijuana, no thanks to the state's Republican legislators. It is now the 16th state to do so. More from Politico:

The Virginia Legislature approved adult-use marijuana legalization Saturday in a historic vote marking the first state in theOld South to embrace full legalization.

The House passed the measure in a 48-43 vote, and the Senate approved it in a 20-19 vote. Not a single Republican voted for the bill in either chamber.

Virginia residents shouldn't light up without fear just yet, however. Under the new measure, which still must be signed by the state's governor, the legal sale of marijuana would not start until 2024.


• The Electronic Frontier Foundation explains the trouble with the so-called SAFE TECH Act, "a shotgun approach to Section 230 reform put forth by Sens. Mark Warner, Mazie Hirono and Amy Klobuchar earlier this month."

• The Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments for a major voting rights case on Tuesday.

• Yes, conservatives are hypocrites about cancel culture and race-related discussions. But "it is progressives who in recent years have attempted to increase the stigma attached to racist speech while also expanding the scope of what's 'racist,'" writes Matthew Yglesias. "That double move introduces complications into discussions of racism that should invite more argumentation, not less."

• Thread:

• Thanks to U.S. laws, sex workers in 2021 aren't just fighting stigma, "They're fighting for their right to be on the internet," writes Mark Serrels at CNET.

• Whoa:

• The untold story of queer foster families.

The Cut dissects "the willful misunderstanding of kink."