Head of LGBT+ advocacy group sacked for advising Cuomo

David described his termination as ‘unjust’

<p>Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Campaign, ousted from the US largest LGBT+ group </p>

Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Campaign, ousted from the US largest LGBT+ group

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The head of America’s largest LGBT+ advocacy group has been sacked after a report detailed his role in advising former New York governor Andrew Cuomo on how to handle sexual harassment allegations that multiple women levelled against him.

The co-chairs of Human Rights Campaign’s board Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson announced the dismissal of Alphonso David, the group’s first Black president, for violating the campaign’s mission by assisting Mr Cuomo.

"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," the statement said.

“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,” it added.

The decision came on Monday after the group conducted an internal investigation into the details disclosed in sexual harassment report by Letitia James, the New York state attorney general, on 3 August.

Mr Cuomo resigned from office after investigations, overseen by Ms James, concluded that he sexually harassed 11 women. The former New York governor denied touching anyone inappropriately or intending to make suggestive comments and accused the women of exaggerating his behaviour.

Mr David, who served as Ms Cuomo’s chief counsel from 2015 to 2019, said the Human Rights Campaign board had "unjustly" terminated him.

"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," Mr David said in a statement.

According to Ms James’ report, Mr David attempted to undermine Ms Cuomo’s first accuser, Lindsey Boylan. He allegedly released a memo, containing confidential information about Ms Boylan’s employment history, with Mr Cuomo’s communications advisers who were attempting to release the details to reporters.

Mr David also allegedly helped Mr Cuomo and his aides by suggesting edits to a letter which was intended to malign Ms Boylan.

“This is a painful moment in our movement,” Mr Cox and Mr Patterson wrote. “While the board’s decision is not the outcome we had ever envisioned or hoped for in terms of Mr David’s tenure with HRC, his actions have put us in an untenable position by violating HRC’s core values, policies and mission.”

The investigation determined that Mr David had a conflict of interest advising Mr Cuomo’s office. The HRC said his actions have led to “reputational damage” to the organisation.

Joni Madison, the chief operating officer for the group, will replace Mr David as interim president.

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