Time’s Up Chairwoman Roberta Kaplan resigned on Monday after she was involved in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s effort to combat sexual harassment allegations against him, The New York Times reports.
Kaplan, who also co-founded the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, reviewed a draft of an op-ed letter attacking Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to Cuomo who was the first woman to accuse him of harassment, according to a report from the New York Attorney General’s office.
Kaplan advised Cuomo’s team on the op-ed, which was never published.
“Unfortunately, recent events have made it clear that even our apparent allies in the fight to advance women can turn out to be abusers,” Kaplan wrote in a resignation letter on Monday. “We have felt the raw, personal and profound pain of that betrayal.”
The group’s board said in a statement that the resignation was “the right and appropriate thing to do.”
“We are counting on our sisters and allies not to lose sight of the broader work and let a man’s treachery be overshadowed in any way,” the statement added. “We do not ask for a pass. We ask for perspective.”
Top aide resigns:
Cuomo has batted back calls from President Joe Biden, New York’s entire congressional delegation, and countless other members of his own party as well as the GOP to resign. But Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s longtime top aide, announced on Sunday that she has stepped down after she was implicated in leading efforts inside the governor’s office to smear Boylan and push back on the allegations.
“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve the people of New York for the past 10 years. New Yorkers’ resilience, strength, and optimism through the most difficult times has inspired me every day,” she said. “I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented and committed colleagues on behalf of our state.”
DeRosa was behind an effort to leak Boylan’s personnel records and helped draft the op-ed letter.
DeRosa was mentioned nearly 200 times in the AG report, particularly for her role in handling Boylan’s allegation.
Cuomo on life support:
Cuomo has insisted he will not step down but if the New York Assembly impeaches him (and they have enough votes), he must step aside while he faces a trial in the state Senate.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who would replace him, is already staffing up and preparing to take office in the event that Cuomo resigns or is removed.
Hochul has assured allies that she is ready to take the helm.
Hochul was largely ignored by Cuomo during his handling of the Covid crisis, which may end up a blessing in disguise.
Hochul, who would become the first woman to lead the state, has served under Cuomo since 2014.
She began her career as a Senate aide and in local politics in Erie County. She won a House seat in 2011 in one of the state’s most conservative districts before joining Cuomo’s ticket in 2014 as he sought to boost his support in western New York.
Hochul after the report’s release decried Cuomo’s “repulsive and unlawful behavior.”
“Because lieutenant governors stand next in the line of succession,” she added, “it would not be appropriate to comment further.”