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‘Lost all credibility’: LGBTQ group blasted on social media after official tied to NY Gov. Cuomo’s efforts to discredit accusers

‘Lost all credibility’: LGBTQ group blasted on social media after official tied to NY Gov. Cuomo’s efforts to discredit accusers
Prominent US LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign has drawn flak for “stalling for time” after launching a probe into its president’s alleged role in discrediting sexual harassment claims against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The HRC hired “outside” law firm Sidley Austin – on which it has repeatedly bestowed a number of ‘corporate equality’ accolades in recent years – on Monday to conduct an “internal investigation” into head official Alphonso David’s involvement in helping Cuomo respond to the allegations against him.

David, who served as Cuomo’s counsel from 2015 to 2019, was mentioned at least 36 times in last week’s bombshell report by New York Attorney General Letitia James that stated Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women, including former staffers.

The report also revealed that Cuomo and his inner circle had retaliated against ex-employee Lindsey Boylan who had come forward with allegations against the governor. It listed David as among the individuals who saw drafts of an unpublished letter that would have painted her accusations as being politically motivated.

While he initially declined to sign the letter, David reportedly later told a Cuomo aide he would “if we need him” to do so. He also apparently agreed to try and persuade other women who had previously worked for the governor to sign a supportive statement on his behalf.

As well, it was discovered that David had provided Boylan’s confidential personnel file to Cuomo aides – the same day she went public with her claims. According to the report, the aides had later leaked unfavorable material about Boylan to the media and had consulted with David on a number of efforts to discredit other accusers.

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Like Cuomo, David has faced calls to resign from his post over the past week – including from HRC staffers who reportedly accused him of creating a “toxic environment” during a conference call last week. These demands have grown after the resignation on Monday of anti-harassment group Time’s Up chairwoman Roberta Kaplan, who was also linked to the efforts at discrediting accusers.

In a press statement announcing the probe, the HRC termed the accusations against David as “very concerning” and noted that the inquiry – which will turn in its findings to the group’s board of directors within a month – will include “consideration of whether” his actions “aligned with HRC’s mission and values as well as with professional and ethics standards.”

Later, the group retweeted a statement by David “fully [endorsing] the investigation and hoping it will clear up “multiple inaccuracies” in James’s report. He also claimed to have “no knowledge” of the allegations against Cuomo prior to reading the report.

Referencing the episode about Boylan’s personnel file, David said he was “legally obligated” to turn over an “electronic copy of a counseling memo regarding a state employee” after being “directed” to do so once he had stopped working for Cuomo.

He also noted that he refused to sign the letter against Boylan’s accusations because “it runs counter to my basic principles and the work I’ve dedicated my life to” and doubled down on his call for Cuomo’s resignation.

However, the majority of social media users remained unconvinced by both the announcement of the probe and David’s claims, with several people demanding his immediate resignation instead of “stalling for time” in the hopes that “it will all blow over.”

A number of commenters said the HRC had “lost all credibility” with one person claiming it had “become another establishment, corporate, centrist boondoggle...helping cover corporate/moderate Democrats.”

While a few, like NAACP CEO Derrick Johnson, expressed support for David as a “friend in the fight for equity,” several others pointed out inconsistencies in David’s claims about not knowing about the allegations.

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