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CUOMO REACTION: 'They were no longer going to tolerate it'

Charlotte Bennett (l) joined Lindsay Boylan in February with allegations of sexual harassment against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Charlotte Bennett (l) joined Lindsay Boylan in February with allegations of sexual harassment against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Women who went public with claims of sexual misconduct by Gov. Andrew Cuomo are drawing praise from the director of the University at Buffalo's Gender Institute for not allowing it to continue.

There is one characteristic among the women who went public about what the governor did to them: they are of a new generation. Even Cuomo admitted that generational difference in a recorded response he released after state Attorney General Leticia James presented the devastating report.

"This report is impressive. It is thorough. It's over 170 pages. There's tens of thousands of pieces of evidence. Some photographs. Voice mails. E-mails. It's really thoroughly and carefully done. And it's also powerfully written," said Gender Institute Director and English professor Carrie Tirado Bramen.

She said the outraged women see a governor's office dominated by bullying and toxicity, but the attitudinal change was apparent in the women who came forward and went public about the governor.

"A number of the women who came forward are younger women and I just think that they were no longer going to tolerate it," said Tirado Bramen, "and Charlotte Bennett, in particular, has come out and described the horrendous experience that she had, working in the governor's office, and I do think that this younger generation of women, in the generation of #MeToo, will no longer tolerate it."

Tirado Bramen said James could have just gone along with the way Albany has been for so long, but chose not to, instead delivering the 170-page, well-written report that blew open state government.

"One of the 170 people who was part of this report said that the culture of intimidation cannot go on 24/7, that you cannot manage people through fear. And I think that is one of the other takeaways from this report: What is leadership? And what is healthy leadership? And you can no long manipulate people through intimidation," she said.

Tirado Bramen said the traditional power structure would not change if the complaintant's had kept silent.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.