Alphonso David has been fired as the president the Human Rights Campaign over his involvement in then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s attempts to take down one of his accusers.
David was fired for cause by the boards of the prominent LGBTQ+ advocacy group and its foundation late Monday night.
“At HRC, we are fighting to bring full equality and liberation to LGBTQ+ People everywhere,” the two board chairs said in a joint statement. “That includes fighting on behalf of all victims of sexual harassment and assault.”
The group’s leaders lamented that “this is a painful moment in our movement.” The boards concluded that David’s actions violated his contract.
“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,” they said.
Joni Madison, the chief operating officer of HRC, will serve as the organization’s interim president.
David, who denies any wrongdoing and had refused to resign from HRC, vowed to bring his firing to court shortly after the announcement.
“As a Black, gay man who has spent his whole life fighting for civil and human rights, they cannot shut me up,” he said in a statement. “Expect a legal challenge.”
David’s ouster came after the HRC’s executives held an internal investigation into David following a damning report by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office detailing how Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women.
James’ report found that David, who formerly served as an attorney in Cuomo’s office, gave Cuomo a memo on the workplace history of Lindsey Boylan, an ex-Cuomo aide who was the first to come forward late last year. David also suggested edits to and worked to gather signatures on a separate letter by Cuomo’s office that aimed to publicly damage Boylan’s credibility, according to the state attorney general’s report.
A source told the New York Times that David did not disclose to HRC his work with Cuomo on handling Boylan’s accusation.
After revelations of his involvement emerged, David claimed that he had been obligated to provide the memo as an attorney, despite the fact that he was no longer working for Cuomo’s office at that point.
David was one of several high-profile supposed advocates for human rights whom James found had privately assisted Cuomo in his efforts to combat the growing pile of sexual harassment accusations against him: Tina Tchen and Roberta Kaplan, the respective president and chair of sexual harassment victim advocacy group Time’s Up, resigned last month after they were revealed to have given Cuomo similar help.
Though he largely refused to accept full accountability for his misconduct, Cuomo resigned in August in the face of a near inevitable impeachment by the New York state legislature.