Human Rights Campaign Leader Fired over Cuomo Cover-Up

Alphonso David, then the Human Rights Campaign President, speaks at CNN town hall in 2019. (CNN/via YouTube)

The president of the Human Rights Campaign was fired on Monday for aiding former Democratic New York Governor Cuomo in navigating his sexual harassment scandal.

The boards of directors for the Human Rights Campaign and its affiliated non-profit voted to fire president Alphonso David in a Monday night vote, the New York Times reported. New York Attorney General Leticia James found that David helped Cuomo conceal one alleged incident of sexual misconduct he committed against a former staffer.

Specifically, David disclosed personal information related to alleged Cuomo victim Lindsey Boylan after it was requested by former top secretary of state, Melissa DeRosa, who then passed it along to media outlets to tarnish Boylan’s reputation.

David  “engaged in a number of activities in December 2020, while HRC President, to assist Governor 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,” the report read.

David also offered edits to a public statement disparaging Boylan and offered to collect signatures from other staffers, though the statement was never ultimately released.

David did not inform his organization that he was providing consultation to Cuomo, however, individuals familiar with HRC’s actions told the New York Times. After the report’s findings appeared to implicate David in supporting Cuomo’s malfeasance, the leader tweeted his disapproval, saying the HRC board “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 wrote.

The news of David’s involvement in the Cuomo scandal struck a hypocritical tone, given the progressive mandate of his organization to advance human rights for all, including women. After receiving intense pressure from Republicans and Democrats alike as well as pundits on both sides of the spectrum, Cuomo resigned from his post as governor of New York.

Former Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul has replaced Cuomo as the first woman to hold the position in the state.

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