Human Rights Campaign Fires President Over Cuomo Collaboration
(Bloomberg) -- The board of the Human Rights Campaign fired President Alphonso David on Monday night, following a probe into his relationship with former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the organization said in a statement.
The investigation focused on David’s involvement in advising the former governor following a series of sexual assault allegations that concluded in Cuomo's resignation in August. HRC, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, said David’s actions resulted in material damage to its interests and impaired his ability to serve as its leader.
“This is a painful moment in our movement,” HRC Board Chairs Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson said in a statement. “While the board’s decision is not the outcome we had ever envisioned or hoped for in terms of Mr. David’s tenure with HRC, his actions have put us in an untenable position by violating HRC’s core values, policies and mission.”
The organization began its probe into the relationship following the release of a report from New York Attorney General Letitia James on sexual harassment claims against Cuomo. The report found that Cuomo’s staff had sought out David’s advice in drafting a letter to undermine the accusations of Lindsey Boylan, the former governor’s first accuser.
David, who took over leadership of the group in 2019 and was the first Black man to serve in the position, previously worked in Cuomo’s office as the governor’s chief counsel. In a statement on Sunday, David said he would not resign from the role after the board co-chairs requested him to do so.
David responded to his firing in a Tuesday morning tweet, and said the organization can expect a legal challenge over the decision.
“After I demanded truth and transparency, the HRC board co-chairs who should stand for human rights elected to hide in darkness,” he said. “They unjustly provided notice of termination to me in order to end my fight for the integrity of the review process and for what is right. I asked for the report, they refused.”
Chief Operating Officer Joni Madison will serve as interim president while the board seeks a replacement for David.
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