Time's Up CEO Tina Tchen Steps Down Amid Backlash Over Her Connection to Cuomo Scandal

Tina Tchen resigned from her position as president and CEO of Time's Up on Thursday, in the wake of the Andrew Cuomo scandal.

Attorney General Letitia James' bombshell report, released on August 4, had revealed that former New York governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed eleven women, including current and former state employees.

The report highlighted that Roberta Kaplan and Tina Tchen of Time's Up, the outfit at the leading edge of the #MeToo movement, allegedly helped Cuomo in drafting letter that smeared one of his accusers Lindsey Boylan and impugned her credibility.

The Washington Post had published text messages in which Tchen told colleagues to "stand down" from releasing a statement in support of Boylan.

'Resign and Continue to Work for Change in Other Ways'

According to media reports, Tchen apologized to the Time's Up board and acknowledged some missteps, but said she never was in direct communication with Cuomo. She told the organization members that she believes in the mission and intends to help women and all survivors of sexual assault.

The former Obama adviser had resisted calls for her ouster for weeks, but said Thursday it was time for her to "resign and continue to work for change in other ways," reported The Associated Press.

Tina Tchen
Tina Tchen is an American lawyer and Former CEO of Time's Up Twitter

Tchen sаid in а stаtement thаt she hаs "spent а cаreer fighting for positive chаnge for women," but thаt she no longer believes she is the right person to leаd the compаny.

"I'm pаrticulаrly аwаre thаt my leаdership of TIME'S UP hаs become а pаinful аnd divisive focаl point, where the very women аnd other аctivists who should be working together to fight for chаnge аre insteаd fighting eаch other in hаrmful wаys," Tchen continued.

Tchen's Involvement in the Jussie Smollet Incident

As soon as the news of Tchen stepping down broke out, some netizens were quick to point at Tchen's role in assisting American actor Jussie Smollett's family.

In 2019, Tchen's name surfaced during the Jussie Smollett saga, sparking concerns about whether the actor received preferential treatment when authorities concluded he faked a hate crime on himself. Tchen was in contact with the prosecutor in Smollett's case, weeks before a grand jury indicted the Empire actor on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly making false reports.

Tchen's interference raised eyebrows after Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office abruptly dropped charges against Smollett in a special deal. Foxx said she recused herself from the case after Tchen's outreach, but the optics were bad enough that a special investigation was launched. Though investigators cleared Foxx's office of criminal wrongdoing and determined it wasn't swayed by outside influence, it identified possible ethical violations, reported Crain's Chicago Business.

"My sole activity was to put the chief prosecutor in the case in touch with an alleged victim's family," Tina Tchen said in a statement to PEOPLE. Despite these incidents, Time's Up continues to tout its access to the powerful as a strength.

Social Media Reactions

Social media users believed it took a long time for Tchen to resign with some calling her 'power corrupt'. One Twitter user wrote, "The whole times up movement is a manufactured scam." Another wrote, "Anyone Cuomo advised him should resign, not just Tina Tchen."

One comment read, "Good riddance. Thanks to the brave survivors who helped make this happen. She got away with interfering in the Jussie Smollett case but went too far this time." Another user said, "How they used Mr. Depp as a scapegoat for political agenda. No respect for #timesup or Metoo."