After the Washington Post reported that Time’s Up CEO Tina Tchen told other top staffers to “stand down” and not release a statement in support of a woman accusing Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, Tchen has resigned from her position with the group whose mission is to advocate on the behalf of sexual-harassment victims.
According to the report, Tchen was deeply involved in the governor’s strategy on how to respond to allegations of harassment from Lindsey Boylan, a former aide.
In December 2020, Boylan first acknowledged her claim against Cuomo in a series of tweets. “Yes, @NYGovCuomo sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched,” she said in one.
When asked about the accusation the following day, Cuomo denied it.
“Look, I fought for and I believe a woman has the right to come forward and express her opinion and express issues and concerns that she has. But it’s just not true,” he said.
The Post reports that Melissa DeRosa, a top Cuomo aide, spoke to Roberta Kaplan, the chairwoman of Time’s Up, about how Cuomo would respond and that Kaplan “shared the statement with Tchen.” Kaplan recently resigned from the organization following revelations from the state attorney general’s report that she read a draft of a letter meant to discredit Boylan.
Members of Time’s Up discussed how the organization should respond to Boylan’s claim in a text message chain, with many supporting the release of a statement. The group was also being prompted for a response by a Fox News reporter who was writing an article about how “feminist groups” were responding to the accusations against Cuomo.
Tchen was against the idea, those familiar with the messages told the Post. She also had a member reach out to Cuomo’s team in order to find out if the governor would “task Melissa with looking at their workplace culture.”
According to the report, DeRosa was against looking at the culture of the governor’s office, and Kaplan herself didn’t think DeRosa should head up such a review.
“Robbie is talking directly to Melissa now. Let’s stand down other efforts for now,” Tchen said in the text chain, Robbie referring to Kaplan.
On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Tchen — who served as Michelle Obama’s chief of staff when she was first lady — told her staff that she would resign. “Now is the time for Time’s Up to evolve and move forward as there is so much more work to do for women,” Tchen said in a statement following her resignation. “It is clear that I am not the leader who can accomplish that in this moment.”
This post has been updated.