Time’s Up founder Tina Tchen QUITS after texts show she told staff to stop supporting Cuomo accuser

The leader of anti-sexual harassment organization Time’s Up has quit, admitting that her role in the group has become ‘painful and divisive’ after texts revealed she told staff to hold-off on publicly supporting former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s first accuser. 

‘Now is the time for TIME’S UP to evolve and move forward as there is so much more work to do for women,’ Time’s Up CEO Tina Tchen said in a series of messages posted on Twitter Thursday afternoon. 

‘It is clear that I am not the leader who can accomplish that in this moment.’

Tchen is the second Time’s Up leader to resign this month after being accused of helping Cuomo fight his sexual misconduct allegations.

Tina Tchen, Time's Up CEO, has resigned after texts show she told colleagues to 'stand down' in issuing a statement supporting Gov. Andrew Cuomo accuser Lindsey Boylan in December

Tina Tchen, Time's Up CEO, has resigned after texts show she told colleagues to 'stand down' in issuing a statement supporting Gov. Andrew Cuomo accuser Lindsey Boylan in December

Tina Tchen, Time’s Up CEO, has resigned after texts show she told colleagues to ‘stand down’ in issuing a statement supporting Gov. Andrew Cuomo accuser Lindsey Boylan in December

Tchen made the announcement in a series of images posted to Twitter on Thursday afternoon

Tchen made the announcement in a series of images posted to Twitter on Thursday afternoon

Tchen made the announcement in a series of images posted to Twitter on Thursday afternoon 

Tchen touted her previous work with the Obama administration and other companies

Tchen touted her previous work with the Obama administration and other companies

Tchen touted her previous work with the Obama administration and other companies 

She admitted her position in the organization has become 'a painful and divisive focal point'

She admitted her position in the organization has become 'a painful and divisive focal point'

She admitted her position in the organization has become ‘a painful and divisive focal point’

Former chairwoman Roberta Kaplan stepped down earlier this month after it came out that she helped Cuomo draft a statement defending himself.

In December, Tchen told colleagues to ‘stand down’ in supporting former governor’s aide Lindsey Boylan after consulting with Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, according to texts obtained by The Washington Post. 

Boylan, 36, was the first woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment in a Medium post on February 24. She claimed the governor asked her to play strip poker and kissed her on the lips without her permission when she worked for him in 2017.  

In her resignation post, Tchen added: ‘I am especially aware that my position at the helm of TIME’S UP has become a painful and divisive focal point where those very women and other activists who should be working together to fight for change are instead battling each other in harmful ways.

‘Therefore, it is time for me to resign and continue to work for change in other ways, and to let TIME’S UP engage in the thoughtful and meaningful process I know will occur to move forward.’

Lindsey Boylan, (pictured) a former state economic development adviser for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was the first person to come forward with misconduct allegations against Cuomo

Lindsey Boylan, (pictured) a former state economic development adviser for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was the first person to come forward with misconduct allegations against Cuomo

Lindsey Boylan, (pictured) a former state economic development adviser for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was the first person to come forward with misconduct allegations against Cuomo

Lindsey Boylan tweeted her reaction to learning that Tchen would resign as CEO

Lindsey Boylan tweeted her reaction to learning that Tchen would resign as CEO

Lindsey Boylan tweeted her reaction to learning that Tchen would resign as CEO

During the December exchange among five of the organization’s senior members, Tchen opposed releasing a statement in response to Cuomo asserting his innocence following Boylan’s accusations.

After learning of Tchen’s resignation, Boylan tweeted her disappointment at TIMES Up, saying it’s leadership mimicked the tactics of abusers who silence and gaslight their victims. 

‘If this is how I get treated, how do millions of survivors across America get treated,’ Boylan wroted. 

‘They are destroyed for telling the truth.’ 

 The exchange was started after a FoxNews.com reporter asked about their reactions to the allegations. 

Tchen advised against releasing a statement, agreeing with board member Hilary Rosen, who was concerned about the negative impact of giving Fox ‘a headline to run all day.’

‘As a survivor I have always thought that serious allegations of sexual harassment should not be politicized and Fox News had a reputation for doing just that,’ Rosen said in a statement. ‘So part of this text chain is only responsive to the question about Fox. Context matters.’  

In addition to Tchen and Rosen, senior TU members Jennifer Klein, Rebecca Goldman and Amanda Harrington all texted to the chain, offering their opinions on issuing a statement that Harrington apparently had drafted. 

Accusations: Cuomo was accused by several women of sexual misconduct, and an investigation concluded that the governor 'sexually harassed multiple women'

Accusations: Cuomo was accused by several women of sexual misconduct, and an investigation concluded that the governor 'sexually harassed multiple women'

Accusations: Cuomo was accused by several women of sexual misconduct, and an investigation concluded that the governor ‘sexually harassed multiple women’ 

Secretary to Governor Melissa DeRosa (pictured) argued Boylan's allegations were vague and that she had credibility issues

Secretary to Governor Melissa DeRosa (pictured) argued Boylan's allegations were vague and that she had credibility issues

Secretary to Governor Melissa DeRosa (pictured) argued Boylan’s allegations were vague and that she had credibility issues

At the time, Tchen told her colleagues she didn’t think issuing a statement would be appropriate. ‘I agree wit [sic] hilary. The story is all over the place with this survivor,’ she wrote in the exchange. 

In addition, Tchen also opposed specific portions of Harrington’s statement.

‘Just looked at statement and not sure I even like that on [sic] she deserves to be heard,’ Tchen continued. ‘She has been in the context she wants to be heard so no one is saying she shouldn’t but the way she is speaking in not wanting to talk further doesn’t mean she wants to be heard more. So I would say nothing right now.’

In response, Goldman – who had left the organization weeks prior – disagreed with Tchen, referring to the organization’s silence. 

‘I do think our silence looks bad and the first more generic statement Amanda wrote is what we should always say, every time, and compliments [sic] what he said himself,’ Goldman wrote, referring to Cuomo. 

‘It is not good to have a headline that says TU is silent vs TU supports survivors. In my opinion. Everyone deserves to be heard.’

From right to left, Tina Tchen, Wonya Lucas, Stephanie T. Rance and Juanita Slappy attend the Time's Up Luncheon in Edgartown, Massachusetts on August 11, 2021

From right to left, Tina Tchen, Wonya Lucas, Stephanie T. Rance and Juanita Slappy attend the Time's Up Luncheon in Edgartown, Massachusetts on August 11, 2021

From right to left, Tina Tchen, Wonya Lucas, Stephanie T. Rance and Juanita Slappy attend the Time’s Up Luncheon in Edgartown, Massachusetts on August 11, 2021

Roberta Kaplan, (pictured) co-founder of Time's Up, later resigned following an investigation from the New York Attorney General later, who revealed Kaplan's law firm represents DeRosa

Roberta Kaplan, (pictured) co-founder of Time's Up, later resigned following an investigation from the New York Attorney General later, who revealed Kaplan's law firm represents DeRosa

Roberta Kaplan, (pictured) co-founder of Time’s Up, later resigned following an investigation from the New York Attorney General later, who revealed Kaplan’s law firm represents DeRosa

Following Goldman’s reply, Tchen decided to meet over Zoom. She rejoined the group chat following the meeting, asking colleagues to ‘hold for an hour before deploying a statement to give Robbie [co-founder of Time’s Up Roberta Kaplan] a chance to look at text.’

After further deliberation, Tchen asked Rosen to reach out to Cuomo’s office and see if she could examine their workplace culture. 

Rosen contacted former colleague Jennifer Cunningham, also a longtime informal Cuomo adviser, who reached out to Cuomo’s office and raised concerns.  

‘I never talked to the Govs office directly,’ Rosen said in a statement. ‘I did try to encourage them, through a friend, to fully address this allegation and to take any problems in his office seriously, but I was shut down.’ 

Rosen added that she was ‘glad that Lindsey Boylan got her justice.’ 

According to sources familiar with the matter, DeRosa told Cunningham she already ran the governor’s response past Kaplan a day earlier, arguing Boylan’s allegations were vague and that she had credibility issues. 

Following the news, Tchen reached out to colleagues and explained the organization would proceed in shifting direction. 

‘Robbie is talking directly to Melissa now. Let’s stand down other efforts for now,’ Tchen wrote. 

An investigation from New York Attorney General Letitia James later revealed Kaplan’s law firm also represents DeRosa. 

Kaplan resigned following the report. 

Shortly after, the organization released a statement on Twitter, saying: ‘We and she [Kaplan] agree that is the right and appropriate thing to do.’

According to The New York Times, Kaplan wrote in her resignation letter: ‘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.’  

The organization is facing pressure from more than 100 survivors and victims who sent an open letter demanding an independent, third-party investigation.

It also pushed for Time’s Up to cease ‘all partnerships’ with and return any donations from individuals, and corporations with active sexual assault or harassment allegations.

‘There is a consistent pattern of behavior where the decision-makers at Time’s Up continue to align themselves with abusers at the expense of survivors,’ the letter reads.

‘Time’s Up should be ashamed.’

Alaina Hampton once received help from Time's Up with her lawsuit that pitted her against one of the highest offices in Illinois. Now she says the group has lost its way

Alaina Hampton once received help from Time's Up with her lawsuit that pitted her against one of the highest offices in Illinois. Now she says the group has lost its way

Alaina Hampton once received help from Time’s Up with her lawsuit that pitted her against one of the highest offices in Illinois. Now she says the group has lost its way 

Tara Reade, who alleges that she was sexually assaulted by President Joe Biden in 1993, criticized Time's Up for being too closely tied to the Democratic Pary

Tara Reade, who alleges that she was sexually assaulted by President Joe Biden in 1993, criticized Time's Up for being too closely tied to the Democratic Pary

Tara Reade, who alleges that she was sexually assaulted by President Joe Biden in 1993, criticized Time’s Up for being too closely tied to the Democratic Pary

The group’s leadership was also criticized for aligning itself with Cuomo and powerful Democrats. 

Alaina Hampton, who received help from Time’s Up in 2018 with her lawsuit against an aide for former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, echoed this sentiment. 

‘They’re just too tied to the Democratic Party and I don’t think they’re even really realizing the issues that it causes,’ she told The Daily Beast. ‘It just seems like everything that’s happening is damage control and crisis management.’

‘I believe it needs to be dismantled,’ she added.

Tara Reade, who alleged that she was sexually assaulted by President Joe Biden in 1993, also accused Time’s Up of being too close to the Democratic Party. 

Reade has criticized the organization for declining to support her allegations against Biden on the grounds that they ‘could not assist in a case against a candidate for federal office.’ 

The organization also received backlash in June when they supposedly tried to strongarm a survivor of Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def jam Recordings, from appearing in the documentary, On the Record, detailing Simmons’ alleged abuse.

The anonymous survivor told The Daily Beast that she was contacted by Tchen to drop out of the documentary because the filmmakers were ‘bad people.’ 

Oprah Winfrey, a co-funder of Time’s Up, had also pulled out as an executive producer from the documentary just weeks before its release. 

‘Tina Tchen said to me on the phone the night Oprah backed out of the film, ‘The filmmakers are bad people’ and when I disagreed with her she said, ‘You have to trust me on this,’ the survivor said. ‘She implied that Time’s Up would support me as a survivor, but only if I backed away from the film.’

Tchen and Time’s Up officials have repeatedly called the claims false. 

Oprah Winfrey, a co-funder of Time's Up, pulled out as an executive producer from the documentary detailing Russell Simmons alleged sexual abuses

Oprah Winfrey, a co-funder of Time's Up, pulled out as an executive producer from the documentary detailing Russell Simmons alleged sexual abuses

Oprah Winfrey, a co-funder of Time’s Up, pulled out as an executive producer from the documentary detailing Russell Simmons alleged sexual abuses

Former staffers of Time’s Up also told The Daily Beast that the organization seemed to always take too long to accept internal ideas unless they were tied to powerful people.

The staffers alleged that an expansion on sick leave for women during the pandemic was not immediately worked on because ‘it might offend U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.’ 

And the ‘We Have Her Back’ program to help women running for public office was not launched until Biden was declared the 2020 Democratic nominee, the staffers claimed. 

One staffer said they were told not to tweet support for Democratic hopeful Elizabeth Warren after she attacked rival Michael Bloomberg. 

Another staff said that a banner on the organization’s website featuring a promotion for Alessandra Biaggi, a New York State senator who championed anti-harassment legislation, was removed after the senator openly criticized Cuomo earlier this year.  

Time’s Up officials denied all the allegations. 

One of the biggest blows to the organization’s reputation came in March when Time’s Up Healthcare – a spinoff group focusing on harassment in the medical field – suspended one of its members for allegedly brushing off sexual harassment reports at her own workplace. 

Esther Choo, the member in question, was defended by Time’s Up former CEO Roberta Kaplan, and the organization released a statement defending Choo as an advocate for women’s rights. 

‘Once we had that meeting and I saw the way that [Tchen] and [Kaplan] were saying, ‘We have to protect this sisterhood,’ I was like, I’m done here,’ former member Dr. Kali Cyrus told The Daily Beast at the time. ‘Because I’m not in the sisterhood. They’re not going to protect me. They’re protecting the people who are in their inner circle.’ 

The women who’ve accused Gov Andrew Cuomo of harassment

Lindsay Boylan, 36 

Former aide Lindsay Boylan, 36, was the first woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment in a Medium post on February 24. She claimed that the governor asked her to play strip poker and kissed her on the lips without her permission when she worked for him in 2017. 

Lindsay Boylan, 36

Lindsay Boylan, 36

Lindsay Boylan, 36

Charlotte Bennett, 25

Charlotte Bennett, 25, came forward a few days after Boylan and claimed that Cuomo sexually harassed her last June while she was working as a health policy adviser in his administration at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.

Bennett accused Cuomo of ‘grooming’ her and asking inappropriate questions about her sex life. 

She also claimed that he told her he was open to dating women in their 20s. 

BENNETT said the governor asked her about her love life – including whether she ever had sex with older men – and talked about his own, saying that age differences didn’t matter in relationships and he was open to dating women over 22. 

During a meeting alone in his office, the governor said he was lonely and talked about wanting to hug someone, Bennett said. 

She said she swiftly complained to Cuomo’s chief of staff and was transferred to another job. 

She said she spoke to a lawyer for the governor, but didn´t insist on further action because she liked her new post and wanted to move on. 

Charlotte Bennett, 25

Charlotte Bennett, 25

Charlotte Bennett, 25

Anna Ruch, 33

Anna Ruch was the third woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment and the only one thus far who did not work with him in a professional capacity. She claimed that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her just moments after they met at a September 2019 wedding in Manhattan. 

Anna Ruch, 33

Anna Ruch, 33

Anna Ruch, 33

Ana Liss, 35

Ana Liss, 35, a former aide, said Cuomo asked her whether she had a boyfriend, once kissed her hand at her desk and called her by patronizing names, including ‘blondie,’ ‘sweetheart’ and ‘honey.’ 

At a reception, the governor hugged her then put his arm around her lower back and waist as they posed for photo, Liss said. 

She said she eventually asked for a job transfer. In an interview, Liss said she was ‘not claiming sexual harassment per se,’ but felt the administration ‘wasn’t a safe space for young women to work.’ 

Liss, who previously served as Cuomo’s policy and operations aide between 2013 and 2015, told the Wall Street Journal that during her time in his administration, the governor had subjected her to unsolicited advances, including touching her lower back, kissing her hand and quizzing her about her love life. 

Ana Liss, 35

Ana Liss, 35

Ana Liss, 35

Karen Hinton, 62  

The oldest allegations against Cuomo came from Karen Hinton, who served as a press aide for him when he led the US Department of Housing and Urban Development two decades ago and she was a consultant for the agency. Hinton told the Washington Post about a 2000 incident when she said Cuomo summoned her to his ‘dimly lit’ hotel room and embraced her after a work event. She said she tried to pull away from Cuomo when he pulled her back and held her before she managed to escape the room. 

Karen Hinton, 62

Karen Hinton, 62

Karen Hinton, 62

Unnamed sixth accuser

The most damning allegations leveled against Cuomo to date came from a sixth accuser, whose name has not been released. 

The accuser, who is a member of Cuomo’s staff, alleged that he closed a door, reached under her blouse and fondled her after summoning her to the governor’s mansion in Albany for help with his cellphone, according to the Times Union of Albany. 

It first reported on her accusation last month; she then gave more detail in her first interview on the matter, published Wednesday. 

The woman spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her privacy, although her identity is known within the governor´s circle, the Times Union reported.

The woman, an executive assistant, told the Times Union the governor gave her kisses on the cheek and inappropriately tight hugs for years and made remarks including, ‘If you were single, the things that I would do to you’ and ‘I’m single and ready to mingle.’

Then, one day in November, she was summoned to his Executive Mansion office to help him with a cellphone problem, she said. 

He got up from his desk, started groping her and told her ‘I don’t care’ after she tried to deflect him by saying he was going to get them into trouble, and then he slammed the door, she said.

Then he reached under her blouse and clutched one of her breasts over her bra, she told the newspaper.

The woman told a colleague this winter about the alleged encounter, and the co-worker told a supervisor in early March, according to the newspaper.

Cuomo called the report ‘gut-wrenching’ in a March statement and said: ‘I have never done anything like this.’ 

Another female aide, who has remained anonymous, claimed he called her to his Executive Mansion last year, reached under her blouse and fondled her

Another female aide, who has remained anonymous, claimed he called her to his Executive Mansion last year, reached under her blouse and fondled her

Another female aide, who has remained anonymous, claimed he called her to his Executive Mansion last year, reached under her blouse and fondled her

Jessica Bakeman

Jessica Bakeman claimed in a first-person article for New York Magazine that she was sexually harassed by Cuomo on several occasions since the start of her journalism career in 2012.

Bakeman added her voice as the seventh accuser as she detailed inappropriate touching by the governor as he continued to deny all of the claims.

‘He took my hand, as if to shake it, then refused to let go,’ Bakeman wrote of an interaction with Cuomo as she said goodnight at a holiday party in 2014 when she was only 25 years old.

‘He put his other arm around my back, his hand on my waist, and held me firmly in place while indicating to a photographer he wanted us to pose for a picture.’

At the time Bakeman had been working for what is now Politico New York and claimed that red flags went up as her ‘job was to analyze and scrutinize him’.

‘I didn’t want a photo of him with his hands on my body and a smile on my face,’ she wrote.

Jessica Bakeman, a reporter who once covered the Cuomo administration, was the seventh woman to come forward with claims of harassment

Jessica Bakeman, a reporter who once covered the Cuomo administration, was the seventh woman to come forward with claims of harassment

Jessica Bakeman, a reporter who once covered the Cuomo administration, was the seventh woman to come forward with claims of harassment

‘But I made the reflexive assessment that most women and marginalized people know instinctively, the calculation about risk and power and self-preservation. I knew it would be far easier to smile for the brief moment it takes to snap a picture than to challenge one of the most powerful men in the country.’

In an earlier 2012 incident while she was working for USA Today, Bakeman also claims that Cuomo kept her pinned to his side as he told a story to her male colleagues.

‘He left it there, and kept me pinned next to him, for several minutes as he finished telling his story,’ she said. ‘I stood there, my cheeks hot, giggling nervously as my male colleagues did the same. We all knew it was wrong, but we did nothing.’

The reporter, who now works in Florida, claimed that Cuomo ‘never let me forget I was a woman’ as she also alleged that he made frequent attempts to humiliate her, including calling out her purple phone instead of answering her question during a press gaggle.

Alyssa McGrath, 33

McGrath, a current administrative assistant in Cuomo’s office, told The New York Times that he looked down her shirt, quizzed her about her marital status, and told her she was beautiful, using an Italian phrase she had to ask her parents to interpret.

McGrath didn’t say the governor made sexual contact with her but thought his behavior was sexual harassment. 

She recalled Cuomo kissing her on the forehead and gripping her firmly around the sides while posing for a photo at a 2019 office Christmas party.

Alyssa McGrath (pictured) is one of two aides who have come forward to accuse the governor of harassment

Alyssa McGrath (pictured) is one of two aides who have come forward to accuse the governor of harassment

Alyssa McGrath (pictured) is one of two aides who have come forward to accuse the governor of harassment

Sherry Vill, 55 

Sherry Vill, 55, accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct during a press conference with her attorney Gloria Allred on Monday. 

She alleges Cuomo grabbed her face and kissed her ‘aggressively and in a sexual manner’ on both cheeks in May 2017 while he was touring her home in Greece, near Rochester, as he inspected local flood damage.

Vill, who said she felt uncomfortable at the time, shared an image her daughter took on the day that showed Cuomo holding her face as he kissed her cheek and her attorney held up multiple photos showing the Governor inside her home. 

The same photos appear on Cuomo’s Flickr account, as well as multiple others that show him kissing and greeting residents as he toured the town.

None of the women in the other photos have accused the governor of inappropriate behavior or wrongdoing.   

Sherry Vill, 55, accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct on Monday.  Vill, who said she felt uncomfortable at the time, shared an image her daughter took on the day that showed Cuomo holding her face as he kissed her cheek

Sherry Vill, 55, accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct on Monday.  Vill, who said she felt uncomfortable at the time, shared an image her daughter took on the day that showed Cuomo holding her face as he kissed her cheek

Sherry Vill, 55, accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct on Monday.  Vill, who said she felt uncomfortable at the time, shared an image her daughter took on the day that showed Cuomo holding her face as he kissed her cheek

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