By Alisha Haridasani
It was perhaps the speediest resignation of a public official accused of misconduct since the start of the #MeToo movement. Only hours after The New Yorker magazine published an article in which four women accused him of physical abuse, Eric Schneiderman resigned as New York State attorney general.
Two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, told The New Yorker that while they were in a relationship with Schneiderman, he hit them without their consent and threatened to kill them if they broke up with him. Two other women, who wanted to remain anonymous in the article, said similar things.
After the article was published, but before he resigned, Schneiderman denied the allegations.
He said 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.”
The response to the allegations in the article ー especially among other Democratic state officials ー was swift: Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen. Kristin Gillibrand called on Schneiderman to resign.
“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 crucial time,” Schneiderman, 63, said in an official statement.
As New York’s top law enforcement officer, Schneiderman played a prominent role in the #MeToo movement by pursuing accusations against other men accused of inappropriate and possibly illegal behavior. He filed a lawsuit earlier this year against the company run by the former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein for gender discrimination and sexual harassment. He had described Weinstein’s alleged behavior as “despicable.”
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office said it opened an investigation into the allegations against Schneiderman, and a joint session of the State Assembly and Senate will select his replacement as attorney general.