New York, NY – Following a New Yorker report on Monday that four women had accused New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of sexual degradation and physical violence, and subsequent calls by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to resign, Schneiderman announced his resignation.
Schneiderman told the New Yorker in a statement: “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”
But his accusers, two of whom went public, allege that Schneiderman engaged physical violence and abuse that went beyond “role-playing.”
Tanya Selvaratnam, a woman romantically involved with Schneiderman between the summer of 2016 and fall of 2017, told The New Yorker that Schneiderman called her his “brown slave” and would slap her until she referred to him as “Master.” Selvaratnam said that that over the course of their yearlong affair, Schneiderman “was a fairytale that became a nightmare.”
Selvaratnam said that Schneiderman, who was a strong public advocate for the #MeToo movement against sexual violence and harassment, got progressively more violent.
“The slaps started after we’d gotten to know each other. It was at first as if he were testing me. Then it got stronger and harder. It wasn’t consensual. This wasn’t sexual playacting. This was abusive, demeaning, threatening behavior.”
She said that as the violence grew, so did his sexual demands. “He was obsessed with having a threesome and said it was my job to find a woman,” Selvaratnam said. “He said he’d have nothing to look forward to if I didn’t and would hit me until I agreed.”
As noted by The New Yorker:
As New York State’s highest-ranking law-enforcement officer, Schneiderman, who is sixty-three, has used his authority to take legal action against the disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and to demand greater compensation for the victims of Weinstein’s alleged sexual crimes. Last month, when the Times and this magazine were awarded a joint Pulitzer Prize for coverage of sexual harassment, Schneiderman issued a congratulatory tweet, praising “the brave women and men who spoke up about the sexual harassment they had endured at the hands of powerful men.” Without these women, he noted, “there would not be the critical national reckoning under way.”
“This is a man who has staked his entire career, his personal narrative, on being a champion for women publicly,” Selvaratnam said. “But he abuses them privately. He needs to be called out.”
Only hours after the allegations surfaced, Schneiderman announced his resignation:
“It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as attorney general for the people of the State of New York,” Schneiderman said in his resignation statement. “In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me.”
“While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”
Statement from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman pic.twitter.com/yiN2T7dIUx
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 8, 2018
Fox News reported that late Monday, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said it was opening a probe into former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
“After I found out that other women had been abused by Attorney General Schneiderman in a similar manner many years before me, I wondered, who’s next, and knew something needed to be done,” Selvaratnam said in a statement to the AP. “So I chose to come forward both to protect women who might enter into a relationship with him in the future but also to raise awareness around the issue of intimate partner violence.”