On Sept. 6, the national LGBTQ+ organization the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) fired its president, Alphonso David, for advising now-former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during his sexual-harassment scandal, media outlets reported.
The previous day, Windy City Times was among those reporting that Davidthe organization's first Black presidentposted his refusal to resign, despite HRC co-chairs wanted him to do so. "I have now been privately contacted by the two co-chairs of the HRC board and their representatives, who informed me verbally that the review period has been completed, and that there is no indication of wrongdoing on my part," David tweeted. "Despite the lack of any findings, the board co-chairs have now asked me to consider resigning, not because of any wrongdoing, but because they feel the incident has been a 'distraction' for the organization. They told me they reached this conclusion because they heard from two funders and a small handful of employees who expressed concern via email over the last several weeks."
David's termination is "effective immediately, for violations of his contract with the Human Rights Campaign," Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson, co-chairs of the board, said in a statement.
The statement also read, in part, "Last month, the Human Rights Campaign and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Boards of Directors announced a board-led investigation into Alphonso David's actions related to the New York Attorney General's report regarding the allegations of sexual harassment by former Governor Andrew Cuomo. This investigation was conducted through the Executive Committees of the Boards, constituted of their independent Directors, with the assistance of Sidley Austin.
"Following the completion of that investigation, the HRC and HRC Foundation [HRCF's] Boards of Directors have voted to terminate Mr. David for cause, effective immediately, for violations of his contract with the Human Rights Campaign.
"Yesterday and today, Mr. David released a statement that included significant untruths about the investigation and his status with the organization.
"As a result of this conduct, material damage to HRC/HRCF's interests, reputation and prospects has resulted or may be expected to result. Additionally, this conduct has created damage to Mr. David's reputation significant enough to impair his ability to effectively serve as the public face and voice of HRC/HRCF."
Joni Madison, the current chief operating officer and chief staff of the HRC, will serve as interim president, effective immediately, while the boards engage in a search to fill the position.
According to NBC News, David, who was Cuomo's chief counsel from 2015 to 2019, responded Sept. 6 with a statement saying the group's board had "unjustly" provided notice of termination and vowed to bring a legal challenge.
"As a Black, gay man who has spent his whole life fighting for civil and human rights, they cannot shut me up," he said.