Two co-founders of Time's Up, the outfit at the leading edge of the #MeToo movement, allegedly helped New York governor Andrew Cuomo in drafting letter attacking accuser Lindsey Boylan, says the NY State Attorney report. Boylan had been the first to publicly come out with allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed her.
Attorney General Letitia James' bombshell report, released on Tuesday, had revealed that Cuomo sexually harassed eleven women, including current and former state employees. There were wide-spread calls for the governor's resignation.
The report also highlighted that Cuomo's staff reportedly sought the help of Time's Up Legal Defence Fund founder Roberta Kaplan and Time's Up CEO Tina Tchen in drafting a letter that smeared one of his accusers and impugned her credibility.
Time's Up is a charity which raises money to support victims of sexual harassment. It was founded on January 1, 2018, by Hollywood celebrities in response to the Weinstein charges and the MeToo movement.
The Letter Attacked Boylan's Claims as Politically Motivated
The report details how Cuomo and a group of advisers drafted a letter in December 2020 to attack the credibility of Lindsey Boylan. "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.
Lindsey Boylan is a former aide to Gov. Cuomo. She published a lengthy essay in February 2021 accusing the governor of sexual harassment and outlining several unsettling episodes, including an unsolicited kiss in his Manhattan office.
Melissa DeRosa, the governor's top aide, said that he initially drafted the letter by hand, according to the report, though Cuomo said he did not write it and only worked alongside others in the drafting process, reported the National Review.
Involvement Of Time's Up
The report reveals that DeRosa said that she had concerns about the letter and was worried it might backfire. Cuomo then directed her to seek out input from attorney Roberta Kaplan, co-founder of the Time's Up legal defense fund with CEO Tina Tchen.
Kaplan works 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 wrote.
"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," James adds, according to National Review.
What Was the Response of Time's Up?
A spokesperson for Time's Up responded to the report in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter.
"Before any allegations were made against Governor Cuomo, in 2019, Time's Up worked with his administration to pass the Time's Up/NY Safety Agenda. In December 2020, Tina was asked to give her perspective on a public response to Ms. Boylan's allegations," a spokesperson said.
"Although Tina made no recommendations as to what he should do, she shared the stance Time's Up has always taken in these matters," the spokesperson added. "She was clear that any response coming from the Governor's office addressing the allegations would be insufficient and unacceptable if it did not acknowledge the experiences of the women who came forward, and that it should in no way shame or discredit the women."
The letter to discredit Boylan was ultimately not shared publicly after Cuomo's team struggled to find anyone willing to sign it, according to James.
Social Media Discussions
Meanwhile, people on Twitter are calling this as shameful and disgusting example of hypocrisy. One Twitter user wrote, "This is insane. #Metoo went from a very important movement to something else altogether. It's a real shame it ended up becoming a political tool because it was such a good thing in the beginning."
Another Twitter user said, "Women were just the vehicle to be used as cudgels to further the leftist agenda, nothing more. Most of us knew this." One comment read, "The very people who are supposed to be there for women, smear her."