New York governor sparks outcry by walking away from allegations after calling woman a ‘pimp’ in text messages
The outside adviser on the communications team of New York governor Andrew Cuomo called a woman, allegedly groped by an aide, a “prostitute” and “out to make some money” in sexually charged texts that have emerged amid allegations of a sexual harassment culture at his office.
The staffer in the governor’s office, Lawrence Schwartz, had sent the texts and was concerned about how the woman’s alleged sexual assault would be handled.
Sexual harassment in the halls of power: ‘It’s a sordid business’ Read more
In one of the texts, which were first reported on by the Daily News, Schwartz said: “[REDACTED] got solicited for a threesome, pay the full amount of her fee or work for nothing.”
Another text read: “[REDACTED] prostitute that you are calling me about it”.
The text message conversation began with Schwartz telling the woman, a person who worked in Cuomo’s office, about rumors that she was soliciting sex from other men at a party. He said her relationship with one man had stopped, and it would be up to her if she wanted to continue it.
“[REDACTED] went to this guy’s party and started texting him and getting drunk, got a lap dance, he offered her money. He’s pissed. I’m so frustrated [REDACTED] I went to her last week and told her she’s not going to get paid if she goes out with other guys.”
Schwartz then called the woman a “whore” in another text, the Daily News reported.
“[REDACTED] thinks this has gone too far and is making it all her fault. I can’t help but laugh at her pro-prostitution defense. She did all this. I have a feeling this won’t end well for her.”
Schwartz resigned Thursday, after the revelation of the texts, following outcry from the public and women’s advocacy groups, who said his words illustrated the conduct of others at Cuomo’s office. Schwartz had worked for Cuomo for 21 years.
Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York City, Oct. 11, 2016. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP
Schwartz did not respond to a call or text for comment.
The email chain went on for several hours, with Schwartz threatening to block the woman from the governor’s office if she agreed to work with the alleged perpetrator, according to the Daily News.
In a separate scandal, eight former staffers to Cuomo’s former attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, filed a lawsuit against Schneiderman. In the complaint, the eight staffers allege that the former attorney general repeatedly hit them, choked them, and threatened them with death and dismemberment.