Shonda Rhimes ‘Exhausted’ by Deepening Time’s Up Crisis as NY Times Reveals More Conflicts of Interest

Group’s chief executive Tina Tchen acknowledges “broken trust”

Shonda Rhimes Time's Up

Shonda Rhimes says she’s “exhausted” by the worsening Time’s Up crisis in a new report published by the New York Times Saturday about conflicts of interest within the organization founded at the height of the #MeToo movement to support workers who had experienced sexual harassment on the job.

“The fact that Time’s Up has become viewed as a receptacle for and the focus of men trying to cover up their obscene behaviors is exhausting to me,” Rhimes, a co-founder of the organization, said in a statement to the Times. “Saving men, especially predatory men, is not on Time’s Up agenda.”

According to the Times, some board members “are privately questioning” whether the organization will survive following the reveal that several top Time’s Up leaders had advised New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he faced multiple sexual harassment accusations that led to to his abrupt resignation earlier this month.

“We have, obviously, a broken-trust moment and a real examination, after three and a half years, of whether this is the right way to work,” Tina Tchen, the CEO of Time’s Up, told the Times. “I’m open to the answer.”

Rhimes said she supported both Time’s Up and Tchen, according to the Times.

Time’s Up board co-chair Roberta Kaplan resigned from the organization earlier this month after a collective cry of indignation by a group of 47 survivors over the fact that she and Tchen were named in an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James for aiding Cuomo and his office on how to respond to the accusations — and retaliate against accusers.

Following Kaplan’s resignation, several survivors of sexual harassment told TheWrap that the organization had not gone far not enough to repair the organization, which they say has not only been tainted by the Cuomo connection, but has gotten distracted by non-harassment-related issues like racial equity at the Golden Globes and even Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney over profit participation on “Black Widow.”

In the Times’ Saturday story, Kaplan revealed that she was more involved in the Cuomo’s administration’s response to the accusations than was first reported earlier this month, telling the Times she provided names of potential defense lawyers for Cuomo and told his team in advance what a February 25 Time’s Up statement about him would say before it was released.

Time’s Up is hiring a consultant to look into its previous actions and help shape its strategy moving forward, a representative told the Times.

The Times’ story noted that more conflicts of interests at Time’s Up were present before the accusations brought against Cuomo, including Tchen assisting in holding back a letter from women’s groups calling for then-presidential candidate Joe Biden Jr. to respond more quickly to a sexual misconduct allegation made by Tara Reade; the organization’s support of major backer Oprah Winfrey, after she backed out of the documentary “On the Record,” a project featuring rape accusations made against Russell Simmons; and Time’s Up board member Dr. Esther Choo being accused in a lawsuit of failing to report sexual harassment at her hospital.

Reader the Times’ full report here.


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