As the daughter of a father, my stomach crawled up into my throat when I read Charlotte Bennett’s account of her time working for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Bennett is not only the same age as Cuomo’s daughters, she actually told him that in middle school she’d played sports against them. And yet, Cuomo found it appropriate—and, he says, mentorly!—to repeatedly interrogate her about her sex life, talk to her about his physical loneliness since his split from his longtime girlfriend, and advise her to get a tattoo on her butt.
I specify that these feelings come up for me as the daughter of a father because men so often think it’s relevant to frame their concern for women in the context of their familial ties. Cuomo also benefited last year from situating himself as New York State’s dad-in-chief. Just a month before Cuomo’s behavior toward her became aggressively unprofessional, according to Bennett, Cuomo was giving his Emmy-winning little sitcom performance about his daughter’s boyfriend and “natural defiance syndrome.” The summer of Cuomosexuality takes sure seems different looking back.
After what Bennett described, I sincerely hope that no one is taking fatherhood lessons from Andrew Cuomo. I am nearly a decade older than Bennett, and if any of my friends’ fathers spoke to me the way he spoke to her, I would not see that friend’s father again unless he had an open-casket funeral.