New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has come under fire for his habit of greeting female lawmakers with a kiss even amid a cultural shift on sexual harassment in the workplace.
A local CBS News affiliate took Mr. de Blasio to task for welcoming male and female legislators with distinctly different approaches. The station consulted random New Yorkers regarding his French greeting, along with workplace expert Steven Viscusi.
“Absolutely horrible,” Mr. Viscusi told the CBS affiliate Tuesday. “It’s absolutely inappropriate in any business environment today — with the new #MeToo movement — but even before that, that women should be hugged in an intimate way,” Mr. Viscusi said. “Why should a woman have to be pushed close to you and rubbed up against?”
Mr. de Blasio brushed off the question when asked by reporter Marcia Kramer.
“I think certainly for the last 30 or so years that I’ve been involved in professional and public life — 30-plus years — that has been a norm and it’s been a respectful norm,” he said.
New Yorkers weren’t as comfortable with kissing strangers as their mayor.
“I don’t know, it’s just too intimate,” said Hilda Greenfield of the Upper West Side.
“Here in the states, a handshake would probably be the better course of action,” added Olivia Broome of Washington Heights.
Mr. Viscusi added that kissing strangers, particularly during flu season, was another reason to avoid the practice.
• Douglas Ernst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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