Time’s Up CEO Tina Tchen resigns in wake of Cuomo scandal

National News

FILE – In this June 23, 2014, file photo, Tina Tchen, chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama, speaks at the White House Summit on Working Families in Washington. Tchen, who went on to become the CEO of the sex harassment victims’ advocacy group Time’s Up, resigned from the position on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, in the wake of revelations that leaders of the group advised former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on how to handle allegations made against him. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Time’s Up CEO and president Tina Tchen resigned Thursday in the wake of revelations that leaders of the sexual harassment victims’ advocacy group advised former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration after he was accused of sexual misconduct.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Tchen — the former chief of staff to Michelle Obama — said she’s “spent a career fighting for positive change for women” but she wasn’t the right person to lead the #MeToo-era organization at this time.

“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,” she wrote.

Tchen’s resignation comes on the heels of the departure of Roberta Kaplan, who stepped down as the chair of the board of directors Aug. 9.

An independent investigation overseen by New York’s attorney general culminated in a report that concluded Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women. The report said top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa sent a letter that sought to discredit his first public accuser, Lindsey Boylan, to Kaplan for review.

“Ms. Kaplan read the letter to the head of the advocacy group Times Up, and both of them allegedly suggested that, without the statements about Ms. Boylan’s interactions with male colleagues, the letter was fine,” the report said, without explicitly naming Tchen.

Tchen 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.”

Tchen, a lawyer, previously served as an assistant to President Barack Obama and executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls. She co-founded the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in 2017, along with Kaplan and two other women.

This isn’t the first time the advocacy group has been roiled by leadership issues. Tchen took the helm in 2019, after Lisa Borders stepped down as president and CEO following sexual misconduct allegations against her own son.

After months of resisting calls for his resignation, Cuomo himself left office earlier this week.

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