The Human Rights Campaign, the largest U.S. LGBTQ advocacy group, fired its president, Alphonso David, "for cause" on Monday night, saying his role in former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) effort to smear a sexual harassment accuser violated his contract. A bombshell report by state Attorney General Letitia James identified David, a lawyer in Cuomo's office before becoming HRC's president, as part of an effort to undermine Lindsey Boylan, the first woman to publicly accuse Cuomo of harassment.
The boards of the HRC and its foundation both voted to fire David after a joint meeting Monday night, The New York Times reports, and the vote was unanimous save for two abstentions at the HRC Foundation. David said he will fight his termination. "As a Black, gay man who has spent his whole life fighting for civil and human rights, they cannot shut me up," he tweeted late Monday. "Expect a legal challenge."
The co-chairs of HRC's board, Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson, said in a statement they had decided to fire David because "his actions have put us in an untenable position by violating HRC's core values, policies, and mission." They added: "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." HRC chief operating officer Jodi Madison will serve as interim president while the board searches for a new president.
David's tweeted statements over the weekend, contained "significant untruths" about an investigation into his actions, Cox and Patterson said. On Sunday, David said he would not resign and maintained was told the investigation had found no wrongdoing on his part. In an email to staff on Sunday, Cox and Patterson said the review was not completed. A personal familiar with the HRC board's decision told the Times will never be a written report but the investigation, recounted orally to the boards, had determined that David's actions created reputational damage for the organization.
David, the HRC's first Black president, is the latest Cuomo ally ousted in the wake of James' report. Time's Up Legal Defense Fund co-founder Robert Kaplan and Time's Up CEO Tina Tchen both resigned from the sexual harassment victims' organization for their connection to the Boylan incident. Cuomo himself stepped down in late August.