The president of Human Rights Campaign, the countryâ€™s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, was fired Monday after a report found he tried to help discredit an accuser of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the group said.
Alphonso David was fired effective immediately after an internal investigation was completed and the groupâ€™s boards of directors voted to remove him, Human Rights Campaign Chairs Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson said in a joint statement
They said David violated his contract.
Davidâ€™s apparent role working with Cuomo was revealed in a report this year in which New York Attorney General Letitia James accused David of being involved in efforts to â€œdisparageâ€ a former employee who had accused Cuomo of â€œpervasive harassment.â€
According to the report, David helped draft a letter about the allegations last year that people who saw it described as â€œvictim shaming.â€
The letter wasnâ€™t published, and David didnâ€™t sign it, but the investigation found that he agreed to circulate it to see whether others would sign it. David denied that to NBC News last month.
The Human Rights Campaign said Monday, â€œThis conduct in assisting Governor Cuomoâ€™s team, while president of HRC, was in violation of HRCâ€™s conflict of interest policy and the mission of HRC.â€
David, who was Cuomoâ€™s chief counsel from 2015 to 2019, responded Monday with a statement saying the groupâ€™s board had â€œunjustlyâ€ provided notice of termination and vowed to bring a legal challenge.
â€œAs a Black, gay man who has spent his whole life fighting for civil and human rights, they cannot shut me up,â€ he said.
In a statement earlier Monday, he said the groupâ€™s co-chairs had asked him to resign but â€œdidnâ€™t offer a shred of evidence of any wrongdoing on my part when I asked repeatedly.â€ Referring to the document he helped draft, he said in a statement Sunday that he had a â€œlegal obligationâ€ to provide it to Cuomo but then spoke out against it.
â€œWhen the New York Attorney Generalâ€™s report came out, I was shocked and sick to my stomach and immediately called on Governor Cuomo to resign,â€ he said, adding that heâ€™d called on the Human Rights Campaign to conduct an independent investigation into his conduct.
In the joint statement, Cox and Patterson said Davidâ€™s earlier statements â€œincluded significant untruths about the investigation and his status with the organization.â€ They didnâ€™t elaborate.