Roberta Kaplan, the chairwoman of women advocacy group Time’s Up and co-founder of its legal defence fund, resigned from her post amidst mounting criticism for her role in helping Governor Andrew Cuomo draft a letter that undermined allegations of sexual harassment levelled of one of his accusers.
Ms Kaplan’s resignation, which was first reported by The New York Times, stated that her work as a lawyer meant that she was unable to openly answer questions about her involvement with the embattled governor or his onetime top aide Melissa DeRosa, who she represented in the attorney general inquiry.
“I, therefore, have reluctantly come to the conclusion that an active law practice is no longer compatible with serving on the Board at Time’s Up at this time and I hereby resign,” Ms Kaplan said in her resignation.
Acknowledging the gravity of the findings of the attorney general’s report, Ms Kaplan said in her resignation: “Unfortunately, recent events have made it clear that even our apparent allies in the fight to advance women can turn out to be abusers.”
Time’s Up co-founders draw sharp critcism after NY AG report said they helped Governor Cuomo
The co-founders of the Time’s Up group, Roberta Kaplan and Tina Tchen, came under the firing line of the critics after the New York Attorney General Letitia James’s report, which was released last week, said that the duo had allegedly helped New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office draft a letter seeking to disprove the allegations from one of his sexual harassment accusers.
Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund founder Roberta Kaplan and Time’s Up CEO Tina Tchen reportedly helped Cuomo’s staff in drafting a letter denying allegations made against the governor by her former aide Lyndsey Boylan. It is also worth noting that Tina Tchen, the head of the Time’s Up group, worked as a former aide to ex-US president Barack Obama.
In her 165-page report that was released on Tuesday last week, James said a group of advisors for Cuomo last December, sought to draft a letter to deny the legitimacy of Ms Boylan’s allegations, call into question her credibility, and accuse her claims of being politically motivated.
“The letter denied the legitimacy of Ms Boylan’s allegations, impugned her credibility, and attacked her claims as politically motivated (including with theories about connections with supporters of President Trump and a politician with an alleged interest in running for Governor),” the report said.
The letter was initially intended to be sent to former colleagues of Boylan and Cuomo for them to sign and later published as an op-ed. But Melissa DeRosa, one of the top aides of Andrew Cuomo, had apprehensions about the letter, worrying that it would ‘backfire’. So Cuomo reportedly asked her to reach out to Roberta Kaplan.
As per Ms DeRosa’s testimony, Ms Kaplan read the letter to the head of the feminist group Times Up, Tina Tchen, and both of them thought the letter was fine with some minor changes.
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo harassed multiple women: State AG Letitia James
Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, state attorney general Letitia James said on Tuesday. The comments were made on the basis of an investigation that was conducted after allegations surfaced against the Governor last year.
The investigation concluded that his administration was a “hostile work environment”, “rife with fear and intimidation.” Two outside lawyers were roped in for the investigation. Andrew Cuomo is the brother of CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, often called ‘Fredo’ by his critics.
Letitia James said at a press conference that Andrew Cuomo “sexually harassed multiple women, and in doing so violated federal and state law.” According to James, the report presents “a deeply disturbing, yet clear, picture” in a “toxic workplace.”
In addition to state government employees, Cuomo also harassed women outside of it. On at least one occasion, he and his associates attempted to retaliate against one woman who accused him of misconduct.