The co-founder of Time’s Up, an advocacy group created amid the #MeToo movement to combat sexual harassment, resigned on Monday following reports that she was involved in an effort to discredit a woman who accused New York governor Andrew Cuomo of harassment.
Roberta Kaplan, who co-founded the group and heads its legal defense fund, said in her resignation letter that her work as a lawyer prevents her from publicly responding to questions about her involvement in that effort. Kaplan represents former top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa, and both reviewed a draft letter aimed at discrediting Cuomo accuser Lindsey Boylan, according to a report by New York attorney general Letitia James.
“I . . . have reluctantly come to the conclusion that an active law practice is no longer compatible with serving on the Board at Time’s Up at this time and I hereby resign,” Kaplan wrote in her resignation letter. “Unfortunately, recent events have made it clear that even our apparent allies in the fight to advance women can turn out to be abusers.”
James’s report accuses Cuomo of sexually harassing at least eleven women, some of whom were state employees, in violation of state and federal law.
The board of Time’s Up was accused of “fail[ing] to heed the outcry from survivors” in an open letter published on Medium, with signatories including Charlotte Bennett and New York state senator Alessandra Biaggi. Two members of the board, Hilary Rosen and Ana Navarro, are contributors to CNN, which employs the governor’s brother Chris Cuomo.
In a separate development on Monday, two board chairs of LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign announced that the group had hired a law firm to investigate its president over his involvement with Cuomo. James’s report alleged that HRC president Alphonso David gave copies of Boylan’s personnel file, which he obtained in 2018 when working in the governor’s office, to Cuomo aides.
“At the direction of the Boards, HRC has retained an experienced outside law firm (Sidney Austin LLP) to conduct an internal investigation,” chairs Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson said in a statement. “This board-led investigation, with which David is cooperating . . . will help shed light on the events that unfolded and guide the Boards on any necessary next steps.”