The president of Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, was fired on yesterday after a New York Attorney General report said he had advised former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on how to handle sexual harassment allegations.
Mr. David’s removal is the latest casualty from the report by Letitia James, the New York State attorney general, describing allegations of sexual harassment by Mr. Cuomo, and efforts by his aides to retaliate against the former governor’s accusers. Mr. Cuomo resigned in August after the report outlined 11 allegations and described a toxic work environment.
David’s dismissal was announced in a statement Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson, co-chairs of the HRC board. The statement said that his actions in assisting Cuomo’s teams had violated the campaign’s mission. It also accused David of making statements that included “significant untruths” about the investigation and his role in the organization.
“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. “As outlined in the New York Attorney General report, Mr. David engaged in a number of activities in December 2020, while HRC President, to assist Governor Cuomo’s team in responding to allegations by Ms. Boylan of sexual harassment. 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.”
“We were very surprised and disappointed by the inaccuracies in his portrayal of events. That investigation will soon be completed,” the statement continued, “and the organization “will then have more to say.
Mr. David, who had worked as a lawyer in Mr. Cuomo’s office, was identified in the James report as involved in efforts to undermine Mr. Cuomo’s first accuser, Lindsey Boylan. Despite no longer working there, Mr. David had a memo in his possession containing confidential information about Ms. Boylan’s employment history. He shared the memo with one of Mr. Cuomo’s communications advisers who were hoping to release details to reporters. Mr. David has maintained that he had an obligation as a lawyer to do so.
Mr. David said he would fight his firing. “As a Black, gay man who has spent his whole life fighting for civil and human rights, they cannot shut me up,” he said in a Twitter post late Monday. “Expect a legal challenge.”