The leader of anti-sexual harassment organization Time’s Up has quit, admitting that her role in the group has become ‘painful and divisive’ after texts revealed she told staff to hold-off on publicly supporting former Gov.
Andrew Cuomo’s first accuser.
‘Now is the time for TIME’S UP to evolve and move forward as there is so much more work to do for women,’ Time’s Up CEO Tina Tchen said in a series of messages posted on Twitter Thursday afternoon.
‘It is clear that I am not the leader who can accomplish that in this moment.’
Tchen is the second Time’s Up leader to resign this month after being accused of helping Cuomo fight his sexual misconduct allegations.
Tina Tchen, Time’s Up CEO, has resigned after texts show she told colleagues to ‘stand down’ in issuing a statement supporting Gov.
Andrew Cuomo accuser Lindsey Boylan in December
Tchen made the announcement in a series of images posted to Twitter on Thursday afternoon
Tchen touted her previous work with the Obama administration and other companies
She admitted her position in the organization has become ‘a painful and divisive focal point’
Former chairwoman Roberta Kaplan stepped down earlier this month after it came out that she helped Cuomo draft a statement defending himself.
In December, Tchen told colleagues to ‘stand down’ in supporting former governor’s aide Lindsey Boylan after consulting with Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, according to texts obtained by The Washington Post.
Boylan, 36, was the first woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment in a Medium post on February 24. She claimed the governor asked her to play strip poker and kissed her on the lips without her permission when she worked for him in 2017.
In her resignation post, Tchen added: ‘I am especially aware that my position at the helm of TIME’S UP has become a painful and divisive focal point where those very women and other activists who should be working together to fight for change are instead battling each other in harmful ways.
‘Therefore, it is time for me to resign and continue to work for change in other ways, and to let TIME’S UP engage in the thoughtful and meaningful process I know will occur to move forward.’
Lindsey Boylan, (pictured) a former state economic development adviser for Gov.
Andrew Cuomo, was the first person to come forward with misconduct allegations against Cuomo
Lindsey Boylan tweeted her reaction to learning that Tchen would resign as CEO
During the December exchange among five of the organization’s senior members, Tchen opposed releasing a statement in response to Cuomo asserting his innocence following Boylan’s accusations.
After learning of Tchen’s resignation, Boylan tweeted her disappointment at TIMES Up, saying it’s leadership mimicked the tactics of abusers who silence and gaslight their victims.
‘If this is how I get treated, how do millions of survivors across America get treated,’ Boylan wroted.
‘They are destroyed for telling the truth.’
The exchange was started after a FoxNews.com reporter asked about their reactions to the allegations.
Tchen advised against releasing a statement, agreeing with board member Hilary Rosen, who was concerned about the negative impact of giving Fox ‘a headline to run all day.’
‘As a survivor I have always thought that serious allegations of sexual harassment should not be politicized and Fox News had a reputation for doing just that,’ Rosen said in a statement.
‘So part of this text chain is only responsive to the question about Fox. Context matters.’
In addition to Tchen and Rosen, senior TU members Jennifer Klein, Rebecca Goldman and Amanda Harrington all texted to the chain, offering their opinions on issuing a statement that Harrington apparently had drafted.
Accusations: Cuomo was accused by several women of sexual misconduct, and an investigation concluded that the governor ‘sexually harassed multiple women’
Secretary to Governor Melissa DeRosa (pictured) argued Boylan’s allegations were vague and that she had credibility issues
At the time, Tchen told her colleagues she didn’t think issuing a statement would be appropriate.
‘I agree wit [sic] hilary. The story is all over the place with this survivor,’ she wrote in the exchange.
In addition, Tchen also opposed specific portions of Harrington’s statement.
‘Just looked at statement and not sure I even like that on [sic] she deserves to be heard,’ Tchen continued.
‘She has been in the context she wants to be heard so no one is saying she shouldn’t but the way she is speaking in not wanting to talk further doesn’t mean she wants to be heard more. So I would say nothing right now.’
In response, Goldman – who had left the organization weeks prior – disagreed with Tchen, referring to the organization’s silence.
‘I do think our silence looks bad and the first more generic statement Amanda wrote is what we should always say, every time, and compliments [sic] what he said himself,’ Goldman wrote, referring to Cuomo.
‘It is not good to have a headline that says TU is silent vs TU supports survivors.
In my opinion. Everyone deserves to be heard.’
From right to left, Tina Tchen, Wonya Lucas, Stephanie T.
Rance and Juanita Slappy attend the Time’s Up Luncheon in Edgartown, Massachusetts on August 11, 2021
Roberta Kaplan, (pictured) co-founder of Time’s Up, later resigned following an investigation from the New York Attorney General later, who revealed Kaplan’s law firm represents DeRosa
Following Goldman’s reply, Tchen decided to meet over Zoom.
She rejoined the group chat following the meeting, asking colleagues to ‘hold for an hour before deploying a statement to give Robbie [co-founder of Time’s Up Roberta Kaplan] a chance to look at text.’
After further deliberation, Tchen asked Rosen to reach out to Cuomo’s office and see if she could examine their workplace culture.
Rosen contacted former colleague Jennifer Cunningham, also a longtime informal Cuomo adviser, who reached out to Cuomo’s office and raised concerns.
‘I never talked to the Govs office directly,’ Rosen said in a statement.
Rosen added that she was ‘glad that Lindsey Boylan got her justice.’
According to sources familiar with the matter, DeRosa told Cunningham she already ran the governor’s response past Kaplan a day earlier, arguing Boylan’s allegations were vague and that she had credibility issues.
Following the news, Tchen reached out to colleagues and explained the organization would proceed in shifting direction.
‘Robbie is talking directly to Melissa now.
Let’s stand down other efforts for now,’ Tchen wrote.
An investigation from New York Attorney General Letitia James later revealed Kaplan’s law firm also represents DeRosa.
Kaplan resigned following the report.
Shortly after, the organization released a statement on Twitter, saying: ‘We and she [Kaplan] agree that is the right and appropriate thing to do.’
According to The New York Times, Kaplan wrote in her resignation letter: ‘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.’
The organization is facing pressure from more than 100 survivors and victims who sent an open letter demanding an independent, third-party investigation.
It also pushed for Time’s Up to cease ‘all partnerships’ with and return any donations from individuals, and corporations with active sexual assault or harassment allegations.
‘There is a consistent pattern of behavior where the decision-makers at Time’s Up continue to align themselves with abusers at the expense of survivors,’ the letter reads.
‘Time’s Up should be ashamed.’
Alaina Hampton once received help from Time’s Up with her lawsuit that pitted her against one of the highest offices in Illinois.
Now she says the group has lost its way
Tara Reade, who alleges that she was sexually assaulted by President Joe Biden in 1993, criticized Time’s Up for being too closely tied to the Democratic Pary
The group’s leadership was also criticized for aligning itself with Cuomo and powerful Democrats.
Alaina Hampton, who received help from Time’s Up in 2018 with her lawsuit against an aide for former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, echoed this sentiment.
‘They’re just too tied to the Democratic Party and I don’t think they’re even really realizing the issues that it causes,’ she told .
‘It just seems like everything that’s happening is damage control and crisis management.’
‘I believe it needs to be dismantled,’ she added.
Tara Reade, who alleged that she was sexually assaulted by President Joe Biden in 1993, also accused Time’s Up of being too close to the Democratic Party.
Reade has criticized the organization for declining to support her allegations against Biden on the grounds that they ‘could not assist in a case against a candidate for federal office.’
The organization also received backlash in June when they supposedly tried to strongarm a survivor of Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def jam Recordings, from appearing in the documentary, On the Record, detailing Simmons’ alleged abuse.
The anonymous survivor told that she was contacted by Tchen to drop out of the documentary because the filmmakers were ‘bad people.’
Oprah Winfrey, a co-funder of Time’s Up, had also pulled out as an executive producer from the documentary just weeks before its release.
‘Tina Tchen said to me on the phone the night Oprah backed out of the film, ‘The filmmakers are bad people’ and when I disagreed with her she said, ‘You have to trust me on this,’ the survivor said.
‘She implied that Time’s Up would support me as a survivor, but only if I backed away from the film.’
Tchen and Time’s Up officials have repeatedly called the claims false.
Oprah Winfrey, a co-funder of Time’s Up, pulled out as an executive producer from the documentary detailing Russell Simmons alleged sexual abuses
Former staffers of Time’s Up also told The Daily Beast that the organization seemed to always take too long to accept internal ideas unless they were tied to powerful people.
The staffers alleged that an expansion on sick leave for women during the pandemic was not immediately worked on because ‘it might offend U.S.
Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.’
And the ‘We Have Her Back’ program to help women running for public office was not launched until Biden was declared the 2020 Democratic nominee, the staffers claimed.
One staffer said they were told not to tweet support for Democratic hopeful Elizabeth Warren after she attacked rival Michael Bloomberg.
Another staff said that a banner on the organization’s website featuring a promotion for Alessandra Biaggi, a New York State senator who championed anti-harassment legislation, was removed after the senator openly criticized Cuomo earlier this year.
Time’s Up officials denied all the allegations.
One of the biggest blows to the organization’s reputation came in March when Time’s Up Healthcare – a spinoff group focusing on harassment in the medical field – suspended one of its members for allegedly brushing off sexual harassment reports at her own workplace.
Esther Choo, the member in question, was defended by Time’s Up former CEO Roberta Kaplan, and the organization released a statement defending Choo as an advocate for women’s rights.
‘Once we had that meeting and I saw the way that [Tchen] and [Kaplan] were saying, ‘We have to protect this sisterhood,’ I was like, I’m done here,’ former member Dr.
Kali Cyrus told The Daily Beast at the time. ‘Because I’m not in the sisterhood. They’re not going to protect me. They’re protecting the people who are in their inner circle.’