Alphonso David was ousted from his position as president of the Human Rights Campaign Monday after a review of his advisement to former New York governor Andrew Cuomo amid the politician’s sexual harassment scandal. David has vowed to take legal action.
“Last month, the Human Rights Campaign and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Boards of Directors announced a board-led investigation into Alphonso David’s actions related to the New York Attorney General’s report regarding the allegations of sexual harassment by former Governor Andrew Cuomo,” said a statement from Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson, the Human Rights Campaign and Foundation board chairs. “This investigation was conducted through the Executive Committees of the Boards, constituted of their independent Directors, with the assistance of Sidley Austin. Following the completion of that investigation, the HRC and HRC Foundation Boards of Directors have voted to terminate Mr. David for cause, effective immediately, for violations of his contract with the Human Rights Campaign.”
They went on, “Yesterday and today, Mr. David released a statement that included significant untruths about the investigation and his status with the organization.”
For his part, David did release a number of statements. On Sunday, he said that the co-chairs contacted him and let him know the investigation found “no indication of wrongdoing” on his part. “Despite this, they told me that the results of the independent review will not be shared with anyone — not me, and not the HRC community. It isn’t even clear from our conversation that a formal report actually exists.”
In a Monday statement, he said, “After I demanded truth and transparency, the HRC board co-chairs who should stand for human rights elected to hide in darkness. 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. I asked for the report, they refused. They lied about producing the report. Now that they are being called to task, they tried to shut me up. 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.”
The co-chairs cited New York Attorney General Letitia James’ report on Cuomo from last month. Her office found that the former governor sexually harassed multiple women and that, according to the HRC representatives, “David engaged in a number of activities in December 2020, while HRC President, to assist Governor Cuomo’s team in responding to allegations.” That, they said, “was in violation of HRC’s Conflict of Interest Policy and the mission of HRC.”
A source familiar with the situation told TheWrap that David did not tell the boards of his advisement of Cuomo, nor that he was talking to the state attorney general. They were unaware, the source said, until it hit the press. The organization has a foundation board (or a C3) and a campaign board (a C4). The C4 board voted unanimously, the C3 board had two abstentions and no one voted against David’s removal.
Cuomo resigned last month.