The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, on Monday terminated its
president, Alphonso David, over the role he played in allegations
against former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
While Cuomo has denied the charge that
he sexually harassed 11 women employees, he stepped down after New
York Attorney General Letitia James released her report on the
David, the group's first Black
president, is mentioned several times in James' report.
HRC co-chairs Jodie Patterson and
Morgan Cox explained in a statement that David was terminated under
the “for cause” provision of his contract.
“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,” Patterson and Cox said. “As outlined in the New York
Attorney General report, Mr. David engaged in a number of activities
in December 2020, while HRC President, to assist Gov. Cuomo’s team
in responding to allegations by Ms. Boylan of sexual harassment. 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.”
Joni Madison, the group's current chief
operating officer, was named interim president.
David worked in New York state
government for 12 years and was appointed by Cuomo to serve as
Counsel to the Governor.
In her report, James discusses David's
role in providing personnel files on a former Cuomo advisor, Lindsey
Boylan. The files were leaked to the press in an attempt to discredit
her. David also helped draft a letter that questioned Boylan's
motivations for coming forward. The letter was never published.
David has said that he was “legally
obligated” to provide the files on Boylan and “was not involved”
in their release. He also has said that he refused to sign the letter
questioning Boylan's motives and “never agreed to circulate it.”
In a Twitter post, David vowed to fight
his termination, calling it “unjust.”
“After I demanded truth and
transparency, the HRC board co-chairs who should stand for human
rights elected to hide in darkness,” David wrote. “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.”
“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,” he added.
HRC said it would begin a search to
find David's replacement.