New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his resignation Monday night, hours after The New Yorker magazine published allegations of physical abuse and controlling behavior by four women who had romantic relationships or encounters with him.
“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 a 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 [Tuesday].”
The allegations were revealed in a wide-ranging New Yorker piece on Monday night, co-written by Ronan Farrow. Schneiderman, long a pillar of New York’s Democratic establishment and a critic of President Trump, has cast himself as a supporter of the #MeToo movement after Farrow uncovered a long list of rape and sexual harassment accusations against the now-disgraced Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein.
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The accusations included hitting and choking women without their consent, asking to use “about half” of a woman’s prescription of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, and mocking anti-gun demonstrators including parents from Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of the 2012 shooting massacre, as “losers.”
Two of the politician’s accusers, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, spoke to the magazine on the record to document claims that Schneiderman nonconsensually hit and choked them. Two other women made similar accusations against him, but declined to be identified.
A third woman who also was involved with him told her story to the other two women, but said she was too frightened to come forward. A fourth woman said Schneiderman slapped her when she rebuffed him, but also asked to remain unidentified. The New Yorker said it vetted the third woman’s allegations, and saw a photo of what the fourth woman said was her injury.
Manning Barish told the magazine that she dated Schneiderman, now 63, between the summer of 2013 and New Year’s Day 2015. According to her account, Schneiderman started abusing her weeks after their relationship became physical. Though she reconciled with him after an initial incident, Manning Barish said that Schneiderman often would slap her during sex without her consent and made critical comments about her appearance.
He “would almost always drink two bottles of wine in a night, then bring a bottle of Scotch into the bedroom. He would get absolutely plastered five nights out of seven,” Manning Barish said.
In one instance, she said Schneiderman told her to get a small tattoo removed from her wrist. According to her, he said the body art was inappropriate for her if she was to be a politician’s wife.
According to the article, Manning Barish said Schneiderman “would be ‘shaking me and grabbing my face’ while demanding that she repeat such things as ‘I’m a little wh—.'” On another occasion, Manning Barish says that Schneiderman told her “If you ever left me, I’d kill you.”
Manning Barish said Schneiderman often asked to to refill her Xanax prescription so that he could take “about half” the pills for himself. She also said he frequently mocked her activism on behalf of progressive causes, in once instance referring to anti-gun demonstrators as “losers.”
“Taking a strong woman and tearing her to pieces is [Schneiderman’s] jam,” she told the magazine.
The acclaimed author Salman Rushdie, who reportedly dated Manning Barish before Schneiderman did, said she told the novelist about the alleged abuse. “She called me and told me he had hit her… She was obviously very upset. I was horrified.”
Selvaratnam told the New Yorker she was involved with Schneiderman between the summer of 2016 and the fall of 2017. She said that he started physically abusing her in bed and asking her to find another woman for a threesome. Schneiderman also asked her to “call him Master, and he’d slap me until I did.”
“[H]e started calling me his ‘brown slave’ and demanding that I repeat that I was ‘his property,'” Selvaratnam told the magazine.
Schneiderman, a former New York state senator who was elected state attorney general in 2010, issued a statement to the magazine saying: “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.” He later posted the same statement on his official Twitter account and a representative emailed the same statement when contacted for comment by YC.