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WATCH: Cuomo Defends #MeToo Joke By Claiming He Was ‘Assaulted’ By Reporters

Explaining a much-criticized #MeToo joke he spit out on Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told a radio host that he was “assaulted” by reporters and their equipment “in all sorts of [his] anatomy.”

In what’s been described as a “semi-impromptu gaggle” with the media, the prominent Democrat joked to reporters closely surrounding him, “Space, we need space. I’ll bring you all up on charges under the Me Too movement.”

The following day, University of Albany professor and radio host Alan Chartock asked the governor about the joke. Cuomo responded in part by claiming he was the victim of an “overwhelming” “physical assault” by the press, reports the Democrat & Chronicle’s Jon Campbell.

“I think it was an offhand comment,” he said. “You know, I walked out into the highway and I was assaulted by the gaggle and pieces of equipment hitting me in all sorts of my anatomy. It was an offhand comment just to get them to move back. The physical assault was overwhelming. But it was just an offhand comment.”

“When they come in a crush and literally get in your physical space and they have cameras and microphones and tape recorders and…,” continued Gov. Cuomo. “It’s — they just physically confront you. It’s just the nature of the beast. But it was just an offhand comment to say, move back and give me a little physical space.”

According to Campbell, Gov. Cuomo was “absolutely not” assaulted. “Was the Cuomo gaggle crowded? Yes, absolutely,” wrote Campbell on Twitter. “Was he ‘assaulted’ by reporters? Absolutely not.”

The #MeToo movement was launched following the seemingly endless accusations of sexual assault and misconduct by Democrat mega-donor and film producer Harvey Weinstein. Survivors of sexual assault used the hashtag to tell their stories.

Cuomo’s #MeToo joke, predictably, was met with backlash online. “Survivors were really hoping it would become a punch line,” wrote one Twitter user. Other comments read, “Tone deaf much?” and “Sweet [J]esus, Andrew, read the room.”

Video of Cuomo cracking the joke below:

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