Alphonso David is vowing to fight his firing by the board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ rights organization over a report that its former president had advised former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on how to handle sexual harassment allegations.
The co-chairs of HRC’s board, Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson, said in a statement that the board had decided to fire David, effective immediately, after the completion of an investigation into his actions related to the allegations against Cuomo.
Cox and Patterson cited the report about Cuomo issued Aug. 3 by New York Attorney General Letitia James, which found the former governor had sexually harassed 11 women. Cuomo has denied the most serious allegations against him.
Hours after the board of the HRC announced David had been fired “for cause,” the former Cuomo aide warned just before midnight on Labor Day that he won’t leave without a fight.
“As a Black, gay man who has spent his whole life fighting for civil and human rights, they cannot shut me up,” David wrote on Twitter. “Expect legal action.”
David, who worked for Cuomo as a staff attorney, was identified in James’ investigation as someone who helped to undermine Lindsey Boylan, a former staffer who was the first to publicly accuse Cuomo of misconduct.
Although no longer working for the executive office, David had confidential information about Boylan’s personnel file and shared the memo with Cuomo’s advisers. David asserts he had an obligation as an attorney to do so.
“After I demanded truth and transparency, the HRC board co-chairs, who should stand for human rights, elected to hide in darkness,” David said. “They unjustly provided notice of termination to me in order to end my fight for the integrity of the review process and for what is right.”
Cox and Patterson countered by ousting David, saying the investigation into David’s role in the Cuomo scandal is still ongoing and he was being fired for lying about it.
“This is a painful moment in our movement,” they wrote. “(David’s) actions have put us in an untenable position by violating H.R.C.’s core values, policies and mission.”
The HRC board said Joni Madison, the organization’s chief operating officer and chief of staff, will serve as interim president while a search to fill the position is conducted.
“As we move forward, our work fighting for all LGBTQ+ people, especially the most marginalized people in our community, remains at our core,” the board co-chairs said.