The Washington Post reported that the Time's Up women's advocacy group worked closely with former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's top aide and decided against issuing a statement in support of Cuomo's first sexual harassment accuser. Time's Up was founded by a group of political insiders and Hollywood elites to combat sexual misconduct in the workplace.
According to text messages obtained by the Washington Post, Time's Up chief executive officer Tina Tchen told colleagues to "stand down" from releasing a public statement in support of Lindsey Boylan, Cuomo's first accuser. The decision came after individuals connected to Time's Up reportedly spoke with Melissa DeRosa, a longtime adviser to Cuomo.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Time's Up's board of directors said that they're committed "to an independent review of our past actions, our current work as well as developing the processes and improvements necessary for furthering our mission." However, the group's statement failed to highlight the depths they went to silence Boylan's voice, which was revealed to be an extensive coordinated effort between five senior Time's Up advisers and Governor Cuomo's office.
Upon investigation into sexual assault allegations against Cuomo, New York Attorney General Letitia James found that Time's Up chairwoman, Roberta Kaplan, worked alongside DeRosa to help draft a letter responding to Boylan's accusations. Investigators called their actions an "unlawful retaliation" effort against Boylan. The investigation found that the chairwoman read the coordinated drafted letter to Kaplan, the CEO of Time's Up.
Following the release of the attorney general's investigation, Kaplan resigned from the Time's Up board after facing immense backlash from sexual abuse survivors and advocates, according to the Washington Post. Tchen claimed she did not recall details of her conversation with Kaplan and has since apologized to survivors of sexual assault and released an apology on Wednesday.
"On the events from December 2020, we have a policy of not commenting on self-reported statements. We did discuss deviating from that policy, given a request for comment from Fox News," Tchen said, former chief of staff to Michelle Obama.
"We also suggested that the Governor’s office respond by doing a review of their workplace culture. Ultimately, we decided not to comment given our policy, but in so doing did not intend to silence Ms. Boylan or any survivor. I deeply regret that survivors, who have already endured a great deal, feel let down and betrayed. That was not my intention," Tchen continued in the statement.
Kaplan said she cannot publicly comment as her law firm represents DeRosa.
Read the text message exchanges here.