Is disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo too radioactive even for Spike Lee?
The director’s new four-part documentary, “NYC EPICENTERS 9/11➔2021½,” focusing on the 20-year aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, is star-studded with a constellation of political and cultural New York luminaries.
That is, except for one falling star: Andrew Cuomo.
The disgraced governor, who resigned last week amidst a damning report revealing multiple instances of sexual harassment and facing a potential impeachment probe, is conspicuously absent from Lee’s trailer, which dropped on Monday.
Celebrities including Busta Rhymes, Rosie Perez, Jon Stewart, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appear against the rousing music of the nearly-3-minute trailer showing the resilience of New Yorkers in the aftermath of the worst terror attack on American soil. There’s even a three-term New York governor waxing nostalgic — but it’s not Cuomo, it’s George Pataki.
It’s believed that Cuomo may have been interviewed for the doc, only to be dropped at the last minute before the HBO release on Aug. 22.
A rep for the project did not respond to a request for comment by The Post.
The theme for the docu-series, which shows the strength of New Yorkers’ post-9/11 resolve and highlights their resilience, is all about a comeback. But Cuomo’s own comeback story seems to be too great a fantasy here.
The project’s press release mentions interviews with some 200 New Yorkers and firsthand 9/11 accounts — including the governor’s nemesis, Queens lawmaker and Assemblyman Ron Kim.
But Cuomo is nowhere to be found. The former “Luv Guv” is conspicuously absent from the trailer full of New York leaders, including the image of Rudy Giuliani, who’s facetiously depicted as “America’s mayor” in graffiti.
Even Cuomo’s frenemy is upfront and center in the trailer: “We are now the epicenter of this crisis — right here in New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, shown in a press conference.
“A lot of us were in the hamster wheel. Covid stopped the hamster wheel and a lot of people fell out …” added CNN political commentator Van Jones in the teaser. “2020 put a spotlight on the worst and the best in this country and NYC was the epicenter of the whole thing.”
In the trailer, when Lee himself blasts the premature eulogies for NYC and those writing off New York’s comeback during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s Pataki’s image that appears: “I heard the same thing on September 12, 2001,” said Pataki, who served as governor from 1995 through 2007, when Cuomo won, in an interview for the doc.
Indeed, for the onetime vaunted governor who never left that spotlight during the pandemic — leading to a parade of accolades and awards, including an Emmy — Cuomo’s spectacular rise and fall showed the best and the worst.
Viewers can’t help but associate the irony of the uplifting language in the trailer’s backdrop, reading, “Celebrate the spirit that makes New York, New York” against the prophetic voiceover of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. “A knockdown is different than a knockout. And a setback is nothing more than a setup for a comeback.”
But it would appear Cuomo’s fall from grace is the quintessential knockout.