By Mattie Fitzpatrick | November 20, 2023
Melissa DeRosa being interviewed by former journalist Ken Lovett.
Photo Credit: Janet Topal / New York State Writers Institute
Melissa DeRosa, the secretary for former Governor Andrew Cuomo defended him against allegations made of sexual harassment while speaking at an event for the New York State Writer’s Institute.
DeRosa spoke on Oct. 25, 2023 at Page Hall on the Downtown University at UAlbany, former secretary got candid about working through a global pandemic and Governor Cuomo’s sexual harassment allegations in the workplace.
DeRosa was the highest non-elected position in the New York State government under Gov. Cuomo. In her new book, “What’s Left Unsaid: My Life at the Center of Power, Politics, & Crisis,” she speaks on the experience.
“Andrew Cuomo absolutely kissed people on the cheek, he absolutely put his hand on people’s waist for photographs, he absolutely, if he didn’t necessarily remember your name, said sweetheart,” DeRosa said.
“These things happened and it’s 2023 and maybe we’ve got new boundaries and everyone is allowed to dictate the terms of what makes them uncomfortable…. But are those executable offenses or is that something that maybe you should say you’re sorry for? Or be trained for,” continued DeRosa.
“...The Me Too Movement has been weaponized, it’s been politicized. We lost our way…” DeRosa said.
DeRosa raised concerns about the credibility and intentions of the media at the New York State Writers Institute Event at Page Hall regarding the release of her book. “The role of the press fundamentally is to play referee, call balls and strikes, and they did not do their job in this instance. And to do this day, they’re not doing their job.”
DeRosa discussed her own personal turmoil, her rise as one of the most powerful women in New York, and what it was like being in a position of power during a global pandemic. She spoke candidly on COVID statistics in retirement homes, working under Governor Cuomo, and more during the interview and in the memoir.
“We were getting no guidance from the federal government,” she said about the early days of COVID-19 pandemic.
DeRosa explained that a lack of knowledge around COVID-19 led to unforeseen difficulties pertaining to nursing homes specifically and the deaths that occurred there.
DeRosa admitted that “I don’t think we properly ever addressed and I don’t think the public ever properly understood it, and that is a big regret when I look back on all of it.”
DeRosa will continue her book tour in New York City and Los Angeles.