New York governor Andrew Cuomo denied multiple allegations of sexual harassment Tuesday, saying he "never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances."
"That is just not who I am. And that's not who I have ever been," he said in a television address, adding that he had published a response to the accusations on his website.
Cuomo spoke after the release of an explosive report by the New York attorney general's office that prompted immediate calls for his resignation.
He said he had a life-long habit of kissing and touching people as a gesture of warmth and friendship, often in public.
"You've seen me do it on TV through all my briefings and for 40 years before that," he said.
"I try to put people at ease. I try to make them smile. I try to connect with them and I try to show my appreciation and my friendship.
"I now understand that there are generational, or cultural perspectives, that frankly, I hadn't fully appreciated. And I have learned from this."
New York state's attorney general Letitia James said Tuesday that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women as she announced the findings of an independent investigation into allegations against him.