LGBTQ advocacy group fires president for helping scandal-hit Cuomo

by Reuters
Tuesday, 7 September 2021 06:16 GMT

People walk by as a farewell speech by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is broadcast live on a screen in Times Square on his final day in office in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 23, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Image Caption and Rights Information
Andrew Cuomo, 63, stepped down as governor in August after a state investigation concluded that he sexually harassed women who worked for him.

(Adds details from New York State attorney general's report)

By Kanishka Singh and Sarah Morland

Sept 6 (Reuters) - Alphonso David, the president of Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy group in the United States, was fired on Monday after a New York Attorney General report said he had advised former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on how to handle sexual harassment allegations, the organization's board said.

His dismissal was announced by the co-chairs of HRC's board, Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson, in a statement that said that his actions in assisting Cuomo's teams had violated the campaign's mission.

It also accused David of making statements that included "significant untruths" about the investigation and his role in the organization.

"At HRC, we are fighting to bring full equality and liberation to LGBTQ+ People everywhere. That includes fighting on behalf of all victims of sexual harassment and assault," the statement said.

David said the Human Rights Campaign board had "unjustly" terminated him.

"As a Black, gay man who has spent his whole life fighting for civil and human rights, they cannot shut me up. Expect a legal challenge," David said in a statement.

According to David's LinkedIn profile, he was president of HRC for over two years, having spent over eight years prior to that working for Cuomo's office - first as counsel for civil rights and then as chief counsel.

The report by Letitia James, the New York State attorney general, described allegations of sexual harassment by Cuomo, and efforts by his aides to retaliate against the former governor's accusers.

David was identified in the report as involved in efforts to undermine Cuomo's first accuser, Lindsey Boylan.

Andrew Cuomo, 63, stepped down as governor in August after a state investigation concluded that he sexually harassed women who worked for him. He said it was "unfair" that he had to resign. He at times expressed regret for making young women uncomfortable, but denied criminal wrongdoing.

The HRC board said that David's conduct had violated the group's "conflict of interest" policy and that it resulted in "material damage" to the reputations of David and of the group.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Sarah Morland in Gdansk; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Simon Cameron-Moore and Tom Hogue)

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