Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a radio interview Thursday, brushed off the blowback he’s received from an awkwardly received joke he made on Wednesday to reporters about the #MeToo movement.

Cuomo spoke with reporters in a hallway gaggle or press scrum and, before he began to take questions, urged them to back up a step.

“Space. We need space,” he said. “Or I’ll bring you all up on charges under the #MeToo movement.”

The comment drew some notice online, especially given that Wednesday saw the installation of the first woman majority leader in the state Senate. Cuomo, in a WAMC interview on Thursday morning, called the remark an “off-hand comment.”

“You know, I walked out into the highway and I was assaulted by the gaggle and pieces of equipment hitting me in all sorts of my anatomy,” he said. “It was an off-hand comment just to get them to move back. You know, the physical assault was overwhelming. But it was just an off-hand comment.”

Asked to elaborate by host Alan Chartock as to what Cuomo meant by “parts of my anatomy,” the governor responded, “No, they just, they — you know how it works. When they come in a crush and literally get in your physical space and they have cameras and microphones and tape recorders and — it’s, they just physically confront you. It’s just the nature of the beast. But it was just an off-hand comment to say move back, and give me a little physical space.”

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