HRC President Fired Following Reports he Advised Cuomo about Misconduct Allegations

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday September 7, 2021

Alphonso David
Alphonso David  (Source:AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Alphonso David was fired from his post as president of the Human Rights Campaign "for cause," the LGTBQ+ advocacy group announced in a Sept. 6 statement from board co-chairs Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson. The action followed reports that David had advised former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on allegations of sexual misconduct brought against Cuomo by a former aide.

David responded with a Twitter post in which he vowed to mount "a legal challenge" to his firing, The New York Times reported.

"As a Black, gay man who has spent his whole life fighting for civil and human rights, they cannot shut me up," David declared in the tweet.

The HRC had launched an investigation into David's alleged advisement of Mr. Cuomo last month, the statement from the co-chairs of the group's board said.

"Following the completion of that investigation, the HRC and HRC Foundation Boards of Directors have voted to terminate Mr. David for cause, effective immediately, for violations of his contract with the Human Rights Campaign," the statement said.

"Mr. David engaged in a number of activities in December 2020, while HRC President, to assist Governor Cuomo's team in responding to allegations" brought by Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo aide, the statement said.

"This conduct in assisting Governor Cuomo's team, while president of HRC, was in violation of HRC's Conflict of Interest policy and the mission of HRC," the statement added, going on to say that "that "material damage to HRC/HRCF's interests, reputation and prospects has resulted or may be expected to result" due to David's alleged actions.

The HRC board co-chairs also alleged that David had "released a statement that included significant untruths about the investigation and his status with the organization".

David had tweeted on Sept. 5 that the HRC board's two co-chairs had "privately contacted" him to say that "the review period has been completed, and that there is no indication of wrongdoing in my part." His tweet added that, even so, he had been asked "to consider resigning". David concluded the tweet with the declaration, "I am not resigning."

The Times detailed that David, "who had worked as a lawyer in Mr. Cuomo's office, was identified" in a report from the New York State attorney general, Letitia James, "as involved in efforts to undermine Mr. Cuomo's first accuser, Lindsey Boylan.

"Despite no longer working there, Mr. David had a memo in his possession containing confidential information about Ms. Boylan's employment history," the Times article continued. "He shared the memo with one of Mr. Cuomo's communications advisers who were hoping to release details to reporters. Mr. David has maintained that he had an obligation as a lawyer to do so."

"Mr. David had been a Cuomo aide for nine years when the Human Rights Campaign hired him in June 2019," the Times recalled. "In announcing Mr. David's appointment, the group highlighted his work with the former governor on major advances in L.G.B.T.Q. rights, including marriage equality and a ban on conversion therapy."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.