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Friday, September 10, 2021


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 accusations.

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.


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