The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said it was rescinding the special International Emmy Award it bestowed upon former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last fall for his daily coronavirus briefings.
The announcement came Tuesday afternoon, less than a day after the disgraced governor’s resignation. Cuomo stepped down in the wake of Attorney General Letitia James’s report that corroborated the accounts of 11 women who accused him of sexual harassment and misconduct.
“[Cuomo’s] name and any reference to his receiving the award will be eliminated from International Academy materials going forward,” a spokesperson for the academy said in a statement.
When New York became the nation’s epicenter for the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, Cuomo’s daily briefings garnered millions of viewers worldwide. Cuomo developed a devoted fanbase who sent him hand-sown facemasks and stitched sweaters in his honor.
Cuomo’s leadership at that time helped to “inform & calm people around the world,” the Academy said while explaining their selection of Cuomo last November. “People around the world tuned in to find out what was going on, and New York Tough became a symbol of the determination to fight back,” said academy president and CEO Bruce L. Paisner.
The honor was presented to Cuomo by celebrities Ben Stiller, Rosie Perez, Spike Lee, Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, and Billy Joel.
In the months that followed, Cuomo suffered a series of blows that ultimately culminated in his resignation. He drew fierce public ire for withholding data from the public about the number of nursing home residents who had died from COVID-19; he was accused by a number of local officials of bullying them; and several state employees stepped forward to say he’d sexually harassed them.
It’s not the first time the Academy has had to backpaddle; actor Kevin Spacey, for instance, was slated to receive an Emmy award in the summer of 2017, until an accusation of sexual assault caused the Academy to rescind it.
A spokesperson for Cuomo’s campaign didn’t return a request for comment immediately.