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N.Y. Gov. Cuomo tells reporter her question on sexual harassment is 'disservice to women'

by Daniel Arkin /
N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at a press conference as police respond to a reported explosion at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Dec. 11, 2017 in New York.Bryan R. Smith / AFP - Getty Images

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told a female reporter she did "a disservice to women" on Wednesday after she asked what his administration was doing to deal with sexual misconduct in state government.

Karen DeWitt, a public radio correspondent, asked the Democratic politician what the state "could do differently" amid a wave of allegations of sexual harassment and assault against prominent men in media and politics — including a former senior official appointed by Cuomo.

Cuomo, who has been noted as a possible 2020 presidential contender, did not directly answer the question. Instead, he asked DeWitt how the news industry would respond.

"Look, you have it going on in journalism," Cuomo told DeWitt. "What are you going to do differently?"

Cuomo, who is also the son of a governor, went on to say that sexual misconduct is a problem in a variety of industries and sectors.

"We will have policies in state government, obviously, that affect state government, but I think you miss the point," Cuomo added. "When you say it's state government, you do a disservice to women, with all due respect, even though you're a woman."

Related: Gov. Cuomo's former aides charged in New York corruption probe

"It's not government," he added. "It's society. It was Harvey Weinstein in the arts industry, it's comedians, it's politicians, it's chefs. It's systemic, it's societal, it's not one person in one area. It's not just Charlie Rose, it's not just Matt Lauer, it's not just journalists. It's societal."

Asked by Dewitt to "name just one" potential change to New York state policy, the governor flatly replied: "No," adding that she should come to his State of the State address, which will be held on January 3, 2018.

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