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tv   Nightline  ABC  August 11, 2021 12:37am-1:06am PDT

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this is "nightline." >> tonight, stepping down. the rise and fall of governor cuomo. >> given the circumstances, the best way i can help now is if i step aside. >> resigning in the wake of that blistering sexual harassment report. a former aide reacting. >> he brought himself down on his own. nobody else did it for him. >> the history-making successor poised to take charge. the founder of the "me too" movement weighing in. >> there's power in the collective voices of survivors, and we can move the needle when we speak together. plus on the grind. meet the new faces of skateboarding. >> do they understand what it is to be a black skater, a nonbinary skater, a trans skater?ina s for
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here's abc's erielle reshef. >> the best way i can help now is if i step aside and let government get back to governing. >> reporter: a 40-year-old political career coming to a stunning halt. >> i love new york. and i love you. and everything i have ever done has been motivated by that love. >> reporter: three-term new york governor andrew cuomo announcing his resignation a week after a scathing report from the state attorney general's office. the independent investigation found that governor cuomo sexually harassed minimum bell women. >> reporter: a stunning fall for one of the most powerful governors in the country, once celebrated for leading new york through the pandemic. >> new york tough means tough. but tough in a new york sense also means compassionate. >> reporter: forced out after a groundswell of women demanded the governor be held accountable for his alleged behavior.
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>> he brought himself down on his own. nobody else did it for him. >> reporter: karen hinton worked with cuomo when he was the secretary of housing and urban development. she claims cuomo was inappropriate with her after a work event in december 2000. >> he came over and embraced me. the embrace became too tight, was too long. i could feel that he was aroused. and i backed away. i do think it was a power play on our relationship that we had. >> reporter: hinton is one of the 179 people interviewed by investigators. in a statement last week, cuomo's team denied her allegations saying he had no inkling that ms. hinton thought he acted inappropriately with her. the investigation recounts events from 2013 until last year, focusing on allegations from 11 women. >> specifically the investigation found that governor andrew cuomo sexually harassed current and former new
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york state employees by engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women. >> reporter: the probe claimed that in at least one instance, the governor tried to retaliate against a woman who leveled accusations against him. today during his resignation speech, cuomo continued to deny any retaliation or misconduct. >> the most serious allegations made against me had no credible factual basis in the report. >> reporter: saying his behavior stemmed from a lack of awareness. >> i take full responsibility for my actions. i have been too familiar with people. there are generational and cultural shifts that i just didn't fully appreciate. and i should have. >> while he is denying that this
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was anything that rises to the level of sexual harassment, i think he had another intended audience, and that is the criminal investigators, the district attorneys who are now taking a look at that conduct, as if to say, wait a minute, nothing i did here was intentional. >> reporter: the governor getting emotional when talking about his daughters. >> i want them to know, from the bottom of my heart, that i never did and i never would intentionally disrespect a woman or treat any woman differently than i would want them treated. >> reporter: one of them by his side at he left new york city following the announcement. cuomo positioned himself as a champion of the #metoo movement, strengthening new york state laws on sexual misconduct. >> he supported it. he signed the bill. and then he broke the law. so for him to say otherwise is
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unbelievable. completely unbelievable. >> reporter: just last week, the governor gave no indication he ever planned to resign. instead, he was defiant. >> i never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances. >> reporter: but widespread calls for cuomo's resignation came from within his own party. even president biden weighing in. >> i think he should resign. >> reporter: and his top aide, melissa derosa, resigned this weekend as state legislators in albany prepared for a possible impeachment. >> andrew cuomo was on an island. it was more difficult for cuomo to find people to take his call. he was calling around to try and gauge support. in the end he lost all meaningful political support. >> reporter: while his political future appears to be effectively over, his legal woes are perhaps only beginning. >> beyond politics, the governor is also facing the possibility of criminal charges and civil lawsuits from his accusers if they want to go down that road.
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in many ways the state attorney general's 165-page report could be a roadmap for attorneys. >> reporter: the governor facing potential misdemeanor charges stemming from a criminal complaint filed by his former executive assistant britney kamiso, speaking with abc news. >> he put his hand up his blouse and cupped my breast over my bra. >> reporter: cuomo's legal team disputing her account and calling the motivations for the entire attorney general's report into question. >> the report got key facts wrong, it omitted key evidence, and it failed to include witnesses whose testimony did not support the narrative that was clear, that this investigation was going to weave from day one. >> reporter: the sexual harassment allegations are not the only controversy that has been swirling around the governor. >> there were so many questions for governor cuomo about the use of state resources to write a book, about providing
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preferential testing for his friends and family, whether he funneled the numbers when it came to covid-19 deaths in state nursing homes. a lot of the luster had already started to come off by the time women started to come forward with accusations. >> reporter: in two weeks, governor cuomo will be succeeded by lieutenant governor kathy hokal, making history as new york's first female governor. for the women at the heart of this investigation, today perhaps signaling a turning point. and a way forward. >> it is a wakeup call for men to start showing respect for women in the workplace, to treat them as professionals. which is what women want. it's what the 11 women wanted. >> our thanks to erielle. for more on the stunning resignati resignation, earlier i spoke with taurena burke, founder of
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the "me too" movement. what was your reaction to the governor's announcement he was resigning and did his attempt at apology go far enough? >> my reaction was shock. i actually thought he was going to go down with the ship. and i don't know that you can call what we heard from him an apology. i think it was more like gaslighting. and really trying to turn the blame back on the survivors. the last moment that he could have taken to show leadership, he in my opinion really, really blew it. >> to that point, i'd like your reaction to something that he said. he said, quote, there are generational and cultural shifts that i just didn't fully appreciate, and i should have. in this day and age, does that pass from a politician, a business leader, for anyone, to say i just didn't get it? >> it does not pass. we are talking about, first of all, a governor, one of the few persons in his position in the country, who is active in
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passing laws around sexual harassment, sexual violence in the state of new york. you are very clear about what that is. but also, what generation are you talking about? anita hill happened 30 years ago, right? he's obviously of the generation that should know better. >> governor cuomo as you know is the latest in a long list of powerful figures to fall from grace for allegedly harassing women. why do you think these incidents keep happening? >> i think it keeps happening because it's so, so insidious. it is deep in the fiber and fabric of his country. it is undergirded by power and abuse of power. and that takes a long time to disrupt and a long time to unpack. >> what does this day mean for the "me too" movement at large and sexual assault survivors in general, do you think? >> the movement really is about survivors finding a collective voice so that we can take action and that we can find healing. it's not about who we get to take down and who steps down
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from office. that's really not the end result or the goal. because for every cuomo that has to resign, there is a trump who never gets to pay account for what he's done. what the movement is about is those 11 women coming forward. what the movement is about is tish james taking them seriously, digging in and investigating so we can have a fair and balanced outcome are to me this day is cathartic i'm sure for a lot of survivors around the world. >> if, in fact, this is a teachable moment for our nation, what changes do you want to see happen in our society? >> if this is a teachable moment, i want america who's watching, people who are watching around the world, to know that there is power in the collective voices of survivors. and we can move the needle when we speak together. >> tarana burke, thank you so much. >> thank you. coming up, meet the skaters charting a new course for inclusivity.
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alana teague is trying to land a trick called the rock 'n' roll. this is what the new face of skateboarding looks like. >> new york city has a lot of skaters of different backgrounds and identities that are not traditionally represented in skateboarding. >> reporter: they're establishing inclusive spaces where nonbinary and trans skaters won't feel like outsiders. fighting to make sure anyone who wants to skate can. since the start of the pandemic, it's blown up across the country. in june 2020, sales of skateboarding equipment increased by 118% compared to the same period in 2019. it's been front and center on the largest athletic stage in the world. the tokyo olympics. the first time skateboarding has been included in the games. with winners as young as 13.
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like momiji mishis who took gold for japan. also misgendering elana smith, who had their pronouns "they/them" in script on their board. this crew knows how important that kind of representation is. i'm about to get on board with shawnee, anna, and corey, founders of the nyc-based previous panzee skate. >> queer people, people that are marginalized because of the color of their skin, because of their gender, sexuality, these people deserve this space. >> talk to me a little bit about this journey you've been on actually coming out and how skating has helped you. >> i didn't know myself as well. i was living in wisconsin in a pretty small town. at that point in my life i didn't know i was trans yet or a gender queer person. i think that's a part of the queer experience, figuring out
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who you are. i got into skating and i met these people and i was like, this is my people. i believe in chosen family, and that's my chosen family. at the end of the day you know that there's going to be a place for you. >> reporter: along with providing a safe space for skaters, panzee hosted community meetups. >> we did a juneteenth event with "quell" magazine and they skate, a skateboarding organization, and raised money for queer black organizations. and so whatever way that we can give back to that community, we felt like that was the best way that we could do it. >> it's amazing to see faces in person, to talk to them and just be like, we're here. we're here for you. we always do a little roundup at the beginning to be like, if you ever need to talk to us about anything. we all had a great time celebrating life and skating. >> reporter: now i guess it's my turn. the guys at pansy are obviously pros. here at "nightline," it is safety first, so i'm going to
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get suited up before they teach me some tricks. all right. i'm ready to ollie. oh. yep. just snap it. yeah. nice. yeah. nope. still jumping on the board, man. nice. there you go. >> oh there you go. >> all right, all right, we're getting warmer, yeah. so you're pushing your weight all the way back with the backflip, then the front flip slides up, then that caused the board to come up in the air. >> oh, that was sweet. 3 >> those first few weeks of you guys getting on the board, what was it like? were you able to do tricks right away? >> of course not, no. >> we skate eight hours a day, seven days a week. especially together. we learned kind of fast. >> why is it so important for you guys to make a mission out of this and make an organization
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out of this? because at the end of the day, isn't it just skating? >> i personally think that, in my experience of skating, it helps me to, like, come back into myself. even if i'm falling, a lot of times it knocks me back into my body and helps me to, like, re-assimilate with myself and my thoughts. like, okay, i'm back at it, let's go. >> reporter: they can tell you what it's like to fall and then get up again. the cofounders of "they skate," bringing lgbtq+ skaters to the front. >> we're always a plus one and tack on. i want to tack on an ally. welcome to my life. >> reporter: they left their last skate group after feeling their identities were being used. >> i started having question marks pop in my head. am i here because i'm being tokenized? do they understand what it is to be a black skater? a nonbinary skater?
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a trans let' p yn e the front. now let's take photos of you everywhere to make it look like we're diverse, like we're inclusive. it's not always roses when you're skating. it's not always comfortable. there is harassment. >> reporter: for kai and schab, it's about expressing their style, with a bonus of a little bit of on-board bonding. >> this isn't just skating, this is what's making us happy. we might be sweating, we might be screaming because we keep falling, but we're happy. i promise, we're happy. >> reporter: back at substance skate park, the moment of truth for elana. >> and yous. like oh my god, i'm doing the thing i thought i couldn't do. it's really given me confidence in myself and how i approach
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other things in life that are scary, but that i know deep down i can do. >> reporter: a salute against the setting sun. and the satisnf kwing they're part of a community that not ly accepts them, but rejoices. when they land some sweet moves. >> our thanks to ashan. we'll be right back cookies and breyers. that's like getting two desserts! wait... do we have to thank our moms twice? i don't know... (laughs) breyers. 100% grade a milk and cream, and loaded with delicious cookie pieces. better starts with breyers. microban 24 doesn't just kill bacteria once, then stop. it keeps killing bacteria for 24 hours. just spray and let dry to form a shield that's proven to keep killing bacteria for 24 hours... ...touch after touch. microban 24. find your rhythm. your happy place.
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♪ that's "nightline" for this evening. catch our full episodes on hulu. we'll see you right back here same time tomorrow. thanks for the company, america. good night.


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