A conservative media watchdog group launched a billboard campaign on Monday calling for embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to have his Emmy award revoked over his role in the COVID-19 crisis at the state’s nursing homes.
Accuracy in Media, placed a mobile billboard outside its midtown Manhattan headquarters displaying the phrase "Cuomo Lied, Thousands Died: Revoke his Emmy Now." The group argued that Cuomo’s policies were "directly responsible" to thousands of deaths at New York nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic and called on the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to revoke the Emmy that Cuomo received for his televised briefings.
"At a time when corporations are expected to make statements about social justice causes and move out of states that are deemed politically incorrect, the Academy has been silent about giving an award to a man whose policies were directly responsible for thousands of nursing home deaths, and who covered it up," Accuracy in Media said in a post on its website. "Let’s record an accurate record of the pandemic and demand the Academy revoke his Emmy now — the victims and their families deserve it."
The Cuomo administration has faced intense scrutiny since a report by New York State Attorney General Letitia James found his office may have failed to report thousands of deaths tied to nursing homes. Critics have focused on a March 25 memo in which Cuomo directed nursing homes to accept recovering COVID-19 patients.
The US attorney’s office in Brooklyn launched a federal investigation into top members of Cuomo’s coronavirus task force and their handling of the state’s nursing home crisis. Cuomo has denied wrongdoing and argued public criticism of his leadership is politically motivated.
Representatives for Cuomo and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences did not immediately return a request for comment on the billboard campaign.
Cuomo received an Emmy award last November. At the time, the Academy said Cuomo would receive its Founder's Award "in recognition of his leadership during the Covid19 pandemic & his masterful use of TV to inform & calm people around the world."
Accuracy in Media said its members have "sent over 189,000 emails" to the Academy’s board of directors regarding its campaign to revoke Cuomo’s award. The group said it would set up mobile billboards outside the homes of board members "with a modified message that might encourage their neighbors to ask these board members why they haven’t revoked the Emmy."
The governor has resisted calls to resign over his handling of the crisis, as well as a separate scandal in which several current and former associates accused Cuomo of sexual harassment or misconduct. Cuomo has denied he acted inappropriately toward the women.