Brittany Commisso has spoken out for the first time since filing a criminal complaint against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week, telling CBS News that the governor turned her dream job into a “nightmare.”
Commisso is one of the 11 women who Cuomo was accused of sexually harassing in a damning report by New York State Attorney General Letitia James. She was identified only as “Executive Assistant #1” in the report but decided to speak out in a shocking interview on This Morning after hearing Cuomo deny the multiple allegations against him.
Commisso, 32, started working as an executive assistant in Cuomo’s office in 2017. She claims that Cuomo groped her for the first time at the governor’s mansion on Dec. 31, 2019, when she was summoned to help Cuomo draft his State of the State address. After the work was done, Commisso claims Cuomo asked if she wanted a selfie together.
“He was to my left. I was on the right. With my right hand, I took the selfie,” Commisso recounted. “I then felt, while taking the selfie, his hand go down my back onto my butt, and he started rubbing it. Not sliding it. Not, you know, quickly brushing over it—rubbing my butt.”
Commisso said she was so shocked by what was happening that her hand started shaking and she couldn’t take the photo. “I was embarrassed,” she said. “Not only embarrassed for what was going on; I was embarrassed that a governor wanted a selfie and I couldn’t take it. I was so nervous.”
According to Commisso, Cuomo then took a look at the photo on her phone and said he wasn’t happy with the one that she’d taken, so then suggested that they sat down on a sofa together to take a better selfie.
“In the photo, I have my arm wrapped around his shoulder, almost as if we were taking a picture with a buddy. And I got a clear photo sitting down,” Commisso said. “That is the one that has been blurred out that has been now released to the public.”
Months later, Commisso says she was summoned to the mansion again and was groped once more. The second incident took place in November 2020, when Cuomo allegedly hugged Commisso in what she described as a “sexually aggressive manner” while his office door was wide open.
Commisso recounted: “It was then that I said, you know, governor, you know, you’re—my words were ‘You’re going to get us in trouble.’ And I thought to myself, that probably wasn’t the best thing to say.”
Commisso claims that, after she told Cuomo to back off, he slammed the office door shut and then approached her again.
“He came back to me and that’s when he put his hand up my blouse and cupped my breast over my bra,” she said. “I exactly remember looking down, seeing his hand, which is a large hand, thinking to myself, ‘Oh, my God. This is happening.’ It happened so quick, he didn’t say anything. When I stopped it, he just pulled away and walked away.”
Cuomo has denied touching Commisso inappropriately, saying of the second allegation: “To touch a woman’s breasts, who I hardly know, in the mansion with 10 staff around, with my family in the mansion, to say, ‘I don’t care who sees us.’ I would have to lose my mind to do such a thing.”
Commisso said she had no intention of going public with the allegations until she heard Cuomo publicly deny all accusations of sexual harassment in March 2021. When she heard the governor say that he “never touched anyone inappropriately,” she decided that she had no option but to speak out about the two alleged groping incidents.
“He almost has this smirk that he thinks that he’s untouchable,” Commisso said. “I almost feel like he has this sense of almost a celebrity status and it just—that was the tipping point. I broke down. I said, ‘He is lying.’”
At the end of the interview, when asked if she had a message for Cuomo, Commisso said, “There was a speech that he gave less than a month ago, and in his speech, he said, ‘If you give New Yorkers the truth and you give New Yorkers the facts—the good, the bad, the ugly—they will do the right thing,’ I would say, Governor, this is the truth. These are the facts.”
Commisso added, “It’s your turn to do the right thing—and that right thing is to resign, and to tell the truth.”