LGBTQ leader involved in Cuomo sex harassment report comes under fire
18:45, 06 August 2021
The president of the US largest LGBTQ advocacy organization Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Alphonso David got under fire from activists and some of his own employees over his role in the sexual harassment scandal surrounding New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Activists questioned whether David can continue to be a president of an organization dedicated to protecting victims of harassment and abuse.
David, who worked in Cuomo's office for eight years before taking his current position in 2019, provided New York Governor's aides with a confidential personnel file of a former staffer Lindsey Boylan after she publicly accused Cuomo of harassment. Cuomo's aides later leaked negative information about her to the press and consulted David on other moves to disparage accusers.
David said he was legally required to turn over the file not acknowledging that it would be used to discredit her.
"Reading the Attorney General's report made me sick to my stomach. As much as I knew Governor Cuomo to be a demanding boss, I never imagined he would have engaged in illegal conduct," he told The Hill. "He has to resign. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the survivors for their courage in speaking out."
"I was never aware of any allegations of sexual misconduct, and no one ever reported them to me, as the report verifies. Of the 11 survivors, I only directly engaged with one, and that was on a personnel matter that had nothing to do with sexual misconduct," says his statement.
HRC's board extended David's contract for five years this week. In a joint statement, the chairs of the HRC and HRC Foundation boards said they have "full confidence" in David as president. Though, during an all-staff meeting, several workers called for his resignation as the organization must investigate David's involvement in Cuomo's allegations.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she would not accept campaign donations or support from HRC until the organization selects a new president.
Other human rights leaders said HRC needs to address the controversy or it will lose support from LGBTQ activists.
The Attorney General's report also claimed David agreed to ask former Cuomo aides to sign the letter defending Cuomo from Boylan's accusations. David denied ever signing the letter.
Earlier New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was caught lounging poolside with his secretary Stephanie Benton at the Executive Mansion in Albany despite calls for his resignation, impending impeachment, and several criminal investigations into his serial sex-harassment incidents.
Cuomo has been hiding in the Albany mansion since Tuesday when Attorney General Letitia James released a report depicting the stories of 11 women engaged in sexual assault by Cuomo, former and current female workers as well as those outsides of his working field. The investigation reportedly illustrated that Cumo touched women in private places without their consent and made sexual comments.
Both US President Joe Biden and the White House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Cuomo to resign.