“I am not resigning,” Alphonso David declared over the weekend, in a statement that turned out to have a very short expiration date. The Human Rights Campaign chief faced calls to step down ever since New York Attorney General Letitia James fingered David as a source for personal information released to attack one of Andrew Cuomo’s accusers in the sexual harassment scandal.
David claimed innocence and accused HRC of pushing him to resign merely for convenience, and also claimed to have been vindicated by the internal investigation. David accused the HRC of suppressing the results as a means to force him out:
Please read: Statement from Alphonso David, President of of the Human Rights Campaign pic.twitter.com/VL4O9jajPW
— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) September 5, 2021
Er … make that the ex-president of HRC. After rejecting the option of a quiet resignation, David instead got a splashy pink slip:
Alphonso David has been fired as president of the Human Rights Campaign after his role in assisting disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s attempted rebound from sexual harassment allegations was detailed in a report.
The HRC and HRC Foundation Boards of Directors voted Monday night to oust David, who served as Cuomo’s chief counsel from 2015 to 2019, after conducting an internal investigation into the details revealed in New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ bombshell Aug. 3 sexual harassment report.
According to the AG report, David released a copy of Cuomo-accuser Lindsey Boylan’s personnel files when asked to do so by former top secretary of state, Melissa DeRosa. …
“This conduct in assisting Governor Cuomo’s team, while president of HRC, was in violation of HRC’s Conflict of Interest policy and the mission of HRC,” Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson, Human Rights Campaign and Foundation Board Chairs, said in a statement announcing David’s removal as head of the largest LGBTQ advocacy organization.
In fact, the HRC board wasted no time in burying any mention of David:
The Human Rights Campaign removed Alphonso David from its staff directory just minutes after announcing the organization’s former president had been fired.
In David’s place, HRC, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, listed Joni Madison as its interim president on their website.
HRC also claimed that David lied about their internal investigation, which they claim is still ongoing. In a letter to HRC staff, the board said that David refused to fully cooperate with the investigation, which left them no choice but to remove him:
“Yesterday, you received an email from Alphonso David. We were very surprised and disappointed by the inaccuracies in his portrayal of events,” the pair wrote. …
“As that process was nearing its conclusion, Mr. David was offered, at the direction of the Committee, the opportunity to discuss in good faith a separation from HRC, and his lawyers began that discussion on his behalf. Mr. David’s email yesterday is unfortunate given his mischaracterizations, including the assertion that there was “no indication of wrongdoing on his part,” they added, disputing David’s claim Sunday that the board’s inquiry into his conduct was complete and his record cleared.
David fired back after getting fired:
Please read: Follow-Up Statement from Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign pic.twitter.com/nPyZk1M1de
— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) September 6, 2021
This will go to the lawyers to sort out, but David’s playing at a disadvantage there. The Sidley Austin report is a distraction. What matters most is the Letitia James report and its damning allegation that David facilitated an attack on the reputation of one of Cuomo’s accusers. He can huff and puff about the HRC’s internal probe and its conclusions all he wants, but the HRC board didn’t need an internal investigation to can David. In fact, they might have been a little shocked to find out that David didn’t grasp this right from the beginning. Having that allegation in public undermines the group’s mission and credibility even after David departs, but it’s much worse while he remained as the president.
So now we have some real accountability for Cuomo’s crimes among the progressive hypocrites that tried to run interference for him. HRC will spend the next few months at least in litigation and self-review, likely looking for anyone else that helped David in his assistance to Cuomo. The chair and president of Times Up both realized what David denied, and offered resignations almost immediately after the James report exposed their work for Cuomo in the scandal. Over the weekend, some high-profile members of their board suddenly decided to focus on other causes, too:
Time’s Up is restructuring their leadership after the organization became embroiled in former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal.
Shonda Rhimes, Eva Longoria, and Jurnee Smollett were among those who recently stepped down from the Time’s Up board of directors, according to the Los Angeles Times. The organization announced on Saturday that “members of the existing board will be stepping aside over the next 30 days” to make way for a “new and reconstituted board.” …
Other board members who offered their resignation include Nina Shaw, Hilary Rosen, Katie McGrath, Christy Haubegger, and Ana Navarro. Bandele has asked four existing board members to stay: Colleen DeCourcy, Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, Ashley Judd, and Gabrielle Sulzberger.
The move comes after Roberta Kaplan was pressured to step down as chair of the board last month, after the New York Attorney General’s report on Cuomo revealed she advised the governor on a letter meant to discredit one of his nearly a dozen accusers. President and Chief Executive Tina Tchen also announced her resignation in late August.
The exposure of their hypocrisy on behalf of Democrats is certainly welcome, if entirely unsurprising. This still raises the question of accountability for Cuomo himself in his myriad of scandals, including the one with a body count into the thousands — the nursing-home COVID policies and the cover-up that took place afterward. It’s gratifying to see clueless and hypocritical celebs get a small measure of embarrassment, but they’re not the real villain. Cuomo is, and so far he’s managed to limit his damage to one self-serving resignation. HRC treated David harsher than the state legislature has treated its disgraced former governor, and that should embarrass New York Democrats much more than it does some celebrity dilettantes.