Board fires HRC president Alphonso David: he says without evidence

Alphonso David
Alphonso David

Alphonso David was unceremoniously fired by the HRC and Equality Board of Directors over the September holiday weekend. David who previously was the lead lawyer for former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was accused by the Boards of acting improperly by helping Cuomo discredit one of the #MeToo accusers.

Guilty or not, David made a valid point by not going quietly into the night. I too am an Equality Federation and HRC persona non grata because, as a trans person who protested at the HRC fundraisers resulting in HRC reluctantly becoming slightly more transgender-inclusive.

I met David when he spoke in Austin in support of our fight against anti-LGBT legislation. He was well-spoken and had a wide-ranging welcoming and inclusive message. For those reasons, he will be missed and as an outlier in the equality battle, I wish him well.


Alphonso David, the president of Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy group in the United States, was fired on Monday after a New York Attorney General report said he had advised former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on how to handle sexual harassment allegations, the organization's board said.

 His dismissal was announced by the co-chairs of HRC's board, Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson, in a statement that said that his actions in assisting Cuomo's teams had violated the campaign's mission. It also accused David of making statements that included "significant untruths" about the investigation and his role in the organization. 

 "At HRC, we are fighting to bring full equality and liberation to LGBTQ+ People everywhere. That includes fighting on behalf of all victims of sexual harassment and assault," the statement said. David said the Human Rights Campaign board had "unjustly" terminated him.

"As a Black, gay man who has spent his whole life fighting for civil and human rights, they cannot shut me up. Expect a legal challenge," David said in a statement. According to David's LinkedIn profile, he was president of HRC for over two years, having spent over eight years prior to that working for Cuomo's office - first as counsel for civil rights and then as chief counsel. 

 The report by Letitia James, the New York State attorney general, described allegations of sexual harassment by Cuomo, and efforts by his aides to retaliate against the former governor's accusers. David was identified in the report as involved in efforts to undermine Cuomo's first accuser, Lindsey Boylan. 

 Andrew Cuomo, 63, stepped down as governor in August after a state investigation concluded that he sexually harassed women who worked for him. He said it was "unfair" that he had to resign. He at times expressed regret for making young women uncomfortable, but denied criminal wrongdoing.

The HRC board said that David's conduct had violated the group's "conflict of interest" policy and that it resulted in "material damage" to the reputations of David and of the group. (Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Sarah Morland in Gdansk; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Simon Cameron-Moore and Tom Hogue)

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