The chairwoman of Time’s Up, a group that supports victims of sexual harassment, resigned Monday amid backlash over revelations she helped New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in drafting a letter that smeared one of his accusers.
“Today is a very sad day,” Roberta Kaplan, who co-founded the Time’s Up legal defense fund with CEO Tina Tchen during the height of the #MeToo movement, told The New York Times. “I will so miss time spent with this board and our sisterhood. Going together, I hope they will be able to stick together and continue this important work.”
Kaplan was named in state Attorney General Letitia James’ explosive report last week that said Cuomo harassed 11 women, including current and former state employees, from 2013 to 2020 in violation of state and federal law.
In her 165-page report, James said Cuomo and a group of advisers drafted a letter in December 2020 in response to allegations by the governor’s first accuser, former aide Lindsey Boylan, who said he sexually harassed her and created a toxic work environment.
“The letter denied the legitimacy of Ms. Boylan’s allegations, impugned her credibility, and attacked her claims as politically motivated (including with theories about connections with supporters of President Trump and a politician with an alleged interest in running for Governor),” James said in her report.
According to James, former Cuomo top aide Melissa DeRosa testified that she had reservations about the letter and thought it would backfire, so Cuomo instructed her to seek further input from Kaplan, who also serves as legal counsel for DeRosa.
“According to Ms. DeRosa, Ms. Kaplan read the letter to the head of the advocacy group Times Up [Tchen], and both of them allegedly suggested that, without the statements about Ms. Boylan’s interactions with male colleagues, the letter was fine,” James said in her report.
“Ms. DeRosa reported back to the Governor that Ms. Kaplan and the head of Times Up thought the letter was okay with some changes, as did [Cuomo ally Steve] Cohen, but everyone else thought it was a bad idea,” the report said, adding that the letter was ultimately never made public after Cuomo’s team failed to convince anyone to sign it. DeRosa announced her resignation from the Cuomo administration on Sunday.
Kaplan’s resignation from Time’s Up comes after a group of survivors of sexual assault issued a Medium post declaring the organization had “prioritized its proximity to power over mission” and “abandoned the very people it was supposed to champion.”
Kaplan acknowledged the group’s criticism in her resignation letter, writing, “Unfortunately, recent events have made it clear that even our apparent allies in the fight to advance women can turn out to be abusers,” The Times reported.
Kaplan said her work as a practicing lawyer meant that she could not openly answer questions about her involvement with Cuomo or DeRosa.
“I therefore have reluctantly come to the conclusion that an active law practice is no longer compatible with serving on the Board at Time’s Up at this time and I hereby resign,” she wrote in her letter, The Times reported.
Time’s Up did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
The organization issued a statement last week after the state AG’s report was released, saying Tchen “made no recommendations” to the governor regarding the letter. It did not mention Kaplan’s involvement.