UPDATE: After my initial report, Alphonso David was fired tonight as president of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organization in regard to his advising former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on sexual harassment allegations.
The New York Times reports that David was “terminated ‘for cause,’ in a vote that followed a joint meeting of the boards of the Human Rights Campaign and its affiliated foundation.”
Co-chairs of the HRC board, Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson, said they had decided to end Mr. David’s role “effective immediately, for violations of his contract with the Human Rights Campaign.”
“Yesterday and today, Mr. David released a statement that included significant untruths about the investigation and his status with the organization,” said the co-chairs. “At H.R.C., we are fighting to bring full equality and liberation to L.G.B.T.Q.+ people everywhere. That includes fighting on behalf of all victims of sexual harassment and assault.”
Read the latest update at the New York Times.
Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, told his Twitter followers on Sunday he has been asked to resign from the organization amid the fallout from advising former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during the recent allegations of sexual misconduct by Cuomo.
The HRC president responded: “I am not resigning.”
David had served as Cuomo’s in-house counsel prior to becoming president of HRC in 2019. When the accusations of sexual misconduct by Cuomo arose, the governor’s office reached out to him for advice and some documentation.
A report from an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James found that David had been consulted on a draft of a letter by Cuomo and staffers that was apparently intended to undermine the credibility of Lindsey Boylan, one of Cuomo’s accusers.
The Washington Post reports that David suggested some changes to the draft. And while he declined to put his name on the document, he apparently offered to get signatures from other former staffers. The letter was never published, although a copy was leaked to the press.
He also provided to Cuomo’s staff an internal memo regarding Boylan’s work history.
David says he shared the memo because he was required to do so as a former attorney for the governor. Regarding the draft letter, he says his suggestions were primarily for the removal of some passages he felt were “problematic.”
Human Rights Campaign president refuses board chairs’ request to consider resigning after helping advise Cuomo https://t.co/XbuWPedFXc
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 6, 2021
After the Attorney General released its report in August, which deemed the accusations credible, Cuomo resigned, and Kathy Hochul, formerly lieutenant governor, was sworn in as the state’s first female governor.
Over at the HRC, tensions grew over David’s inclusion in the report. Shortly after its release, several employees brought up the idea of David’s resignation at a staff meeting. David said at the time he would not be leaving the LGBTQ rights organization.
In his statement on Sunday, David said that an independent investigation by the HRC had been completed and found no wrong doing on his part regarding his assistance to Cuomo. He added he was told the final report would not be shared with him or anyone else.
In spite of that, David says he’s been contacted by the two co-chairs of the HRC board and their representatives asking him to consider resigning as they feel the incident has been a “distraction.”
David disagreed with that saying in his statement, “I have not been distracted, nor have my HRC colleagues who are fighting for human rights.”
Following David’s statement, Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade shared an email forwarded to him from the HRC co-chairs Jodie Patterson and Morgan Cox that went out to all HRC employees. The board chairs say David had presented “inaccuracies in his portrayal of events.”
Their version of the story was that David was “offered the opportunity to discuss in good faith a separation from HRC.”
They also called David’s “assertion” that there was “no indication of wrongdoing on his part” a mischaracterization. And, they stated that the investigation “would soon be completed.”
Wow. I was just forwarded this email from HRC's board co-chairs, who say Alphonso David made an inaccurate portrayal of events, including his "assertion that there was "'no indication of wrongdoing on his part.'" pic.twitter.com/C75uwVhoM6
— Chris Johnson (@chrisjohnson82) September 6, 2021
But wait! There’s more…
David then responded to the co-chairs remarks with a “follow-up statement” on Twitter saying he was told on Friday night the investigation had been completed.
“The facts are that I was contacted by the board co-chairs late Friday night,” David wrote. “They told me that the Sidley Austin review was complete, but they would not provide the report to me or anyone. They gave me a deadline of 8 am the next morning to tell them whether I would resign. They didn’t offer a shred of evidence of any wrongdoing on my part when I asked repeatedly.”
“The distraction would be calling for my resignation without providing the results of the review,” David added. “Keeping the review behind lock and key would be an injustice to me, and more importantly to our employees, supports and all members the HRC community.”
The HRC president called for an end to “this bullying” characterizing the situation as a “cloak and dagger procedure that disrespects what we agreed to.”
Please read: Follow-Up Statement from Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign pic.twitter.com/nPyZk1M1de
— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) September 6, 2021
Stay tuned – developing story…