The CEO and president of Time’s Up, a sexual harassment victims’ advocacy group, is stepping down because it turns out she and other group leaders served as counsel to the administration of the grandmaster of sexual harassment, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
In case you’ve been living under a rock that also lives under a rock, the ex-governor of people who think catcalling should be an Olympic event recently resigned after independent investigators found he sexually harassed 11 women in the workplace. So, it isn’t surprising that “me too” advocates weren’t happy about Time’s Up CEO Tina Tchen and former chair Roberta Kaplan, who stepped down earlier this month, offering to aid and advise the governor of men who don’t understand how “nice ass” isn’t the compliment they think it is.
In fact, the Washington Post obtained text messages that showed Tchen discouraged members of the group from making public statements regarding the stories of Cuomo’s victims, specifically that of Lindsey Boylan, who accused the former governor of making inappropriate comments as well as unwanted touching and kissing.
Melissa DeRosa, a now-former top aide for the governor of people who still think “that’s what she said” jokes are hilarious and definitely appropriate for the office (see what I did there?), asked Kaplan to review a letter by Cuomo supporters attacking Boylan’s credibility—a thing one wouldn’t expect a sexual harassment advocacy group leader to entertain, and yet here we are.
“Ms. Kaplan read the letter to the head of the advocacy group Times Up, and both of them allegedly suggested that, without the statements about Ms. Boylan’s interactions with male colleagues, the letter was fine,” investigators said in their report.
In announcing her departure from Time’s Up, Tchen said in a statement that she’s “spent a career fighting for positive change for women,” but she feels she’s no longer the person to lead the organization, according to the Associated Press.
“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,” she added.
So, now that Tchen is stepping down, who will lead the group? Well, for now, the answer is what it often is when it comes to who’s best to lead any social justice advocacy group—a Black woman.
According to the AP, Monifa Bandele, Time’s Up’s chief operating officer, will be stepping in as interim CEO.
Bandele, a former leader of the advocacy group MomsRising, joined Time’s Up in October of last year and she also sits on the policy table leadership team for the Movement for Black Lives and the leading committee for Communities United for Police Reform, according to the group’s website.