An ad directed by Contagion screenwriter Scott Burns will kick off New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s statewide “Roll Up Your Sleeves” public service campaign encouraging New Yorkers, especially those from neighborhoods where Covid has been most devastating, to get vaccinated.
The spots, shot at New York City’s Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, will appear on television and online statewide starting April 7. The campaign comes as universal eligibility for the Covid-19 vaccine goes into effect for all New Yorkers 16 and older on April 6.
Cuomo touted the campaign at an event Monday at Rochdale Village in Queens where local leaders joined him in talking up the importance of vaccines. Burns was there, as was Tribeca Enterprises CEO Jane Rosenthal, who also worked with the governor on a national ad campaign last year called “Mask Up America.” Eight public service spots produced by Rosenthal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow featured Robert De Niro, Kaitlyn Dever, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, John Leguizamo, Anthony Mackie, Rosie Perez, Ellen Pompeo and Jeffrey Wright.
The governor didn’t take questions at the Queens event. It’s been over a week since Cuomo’s last press conference, although he sends out daily Covid reports and other announcements. His public events have become scarcer and quite different since a stream of women starting in February accused him of inappropriate or harassing behavior. The New York Attorney General and the New York State Legislature are investigating the claims as well as separate allegations regarding how the Cuomo administration reported nursing home deaths. Reports have also emerged that the governor provided privileged access to Covid testing to friends and family – including brother and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. State and national lawmakers last month called on the governor to resign.
Cuomo insists he will not. He has flat out denied harassment allegations, although acknowledging he may have sometimes made women uncomfortable without realizing it. After his last declaration to that effect, he said he won’t comment further but will wait for the results of the investigations, as should everyone else, he urged. The latest accuser, Sherry Villi, appeared with attorney Gloria Allred on a Zoom press conference last week, describing forcible face grabbing and cheek kissing by the governor on a publicity visit to her home in Rochester to discuss flood damage.
Meanwhile, Cuomo’s once-famed press conferences that garnered him a special Emmy have morphed from serious briefing-room updates with relatively long Q&A sessions to outside appearances at public spots like vaccination centers where he speaks and then a stream of supporters and official praise him.
Not always, though. He is planning to have a conference call with press this afternoon at 3:30 pm ET.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.