Tina Tchen officially announced her resignation as Time’s Up CEO amid the aftermath of Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal.
The resignation: In her Twitter post on Thursday, Tchen, the former chief of staff for Michelle Obama, said she was not the leader who could help Time’s Up, a women’s rights organization and legal fund, move forward and evolve, CNN reported.
I am grateful for Times Up, and the time I’ve had. pic.twitter.com/sRlUZfXnYZ
— Tina Tchen (@TinaTchen) August 26, 2021
- In January 2018, Time’s Up was created during the #MeToo era. Founded by sexual assault survivor and activist Tarana Burke, the movement went viral in 2017 and exposed how prevalent sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual violence are for women around the world.
- The decision for resigning is due to information coming out and Tchen’s connection to the New York Governor.
- “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 said.
- The outgoing CEO has “dedicated her life to making workplaces fair and equitable for workers and safer for women,” Time’s Up board of directors said in a statement on Thursday following Tchen’s resignation. “Accepting her resignation today is a demonstration of accountability and will allow our organization to move forward.”
- The board of directors announced Time’s Up COO Monifa Bandele will act as the organization’s interim CEO by the end of August.
- In a statement to The Washington Post, Tchen explains: “On the events from December 2020, we have a policy of not commenting on self-reported statements. We did discuss deviating from that policy, given a request for comment from Fox News. We also suggested that the Governor’s office respond by doing a review of their workplace culture. Ultimately, we decided not to comment given our policy, but in so doing did not intend to silence Ms. Boylan or any survivor. I deeply regret that survivors, who have already endured a great deal, feel let down and betrayed. That was not my intention.”
The details: New York Attorney General Letitia James released the independent investigation report into the multiple sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo on Aug. 3.
- In the detailed report, investigators concluded Cuomo “did sexually harass multiple women — including former and current state employees — by engaging in unwanted groping, kissing, and hugging and making inappropriate comments.”
- The report also stated the former New York governor and his staff retaliated against one of the women who came forward with her story, and the Executive Chamber “fostered a ‘toxic’ workplace that enabled ‘harassment to occur and created a hostile work environment.’”
- Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul took over Cuomo’s position after he resigned on Aug. 23, becoming the first woman to do so, Reuters reported.
- Tchen spoke on theSkimm’s “Back to ‘Normal’ Power Panel” and said the organization can finally see how Time’s Up “can be used as cover” for “folks who are trying to actually go at survivors or others” after reading the AG’s report, The Wrap reported. “We actually thought we were working with an administration that had that in mind,” she said. “Turns out we found out from the attorney general’s incredible report that was not the case.”
- Tchen told her colleagues to “stand down” on their plan to release a statement supporting Lindsey Boylan, the first victim to accuse Cuomo, in December after two people, connected to the organization, spoke with Cuomo’s longtime adviser at the time, Melissa DeRosa, according to The Washington Post.
Yes, @NYGovCuomo sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched.
I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks. Or would it be both in the same conversation? This was the way for years.
— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) December 13, 2020
- The former Time’s Up CEO was also made aware of the briefing DeRosa held with Roberta Kaplan, the chairwoman of the women’s rights group at that time, about Cuomo’s plans for an initial response to Boylan.
- People, familiar with the matter, claim Tchen dropped the effort to pressure DeRosa, in order to supervise the internal investigation, and Kaplan argued, “such an effort would lack credibility given that DeRosa was a loyal aide to Cuomo,” The Washington Post reported.
People’s reaction: Many social media users took to Tchen’s tweet thread to express their opinion regarding her involvement in the sexual harassment scandal and her resignation.
This is the right move on your part, Tina.
And I hope, rather than feeling sorry for yourself, you transfer you feelings of loss & sadness to the victims you promised to help, but only hurt more in your rush to Importance, Status & Power.
— Nicole Ee-o (@nictricious) August 26, 2021
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster- nietzsche. or in your case, she should not become a monster, how do you score such an own goal i will never know. you did the opposite of your organisations state objectives. times up for u
— lostinthe21stcentury (@beanoriginalist) August 26, 2021
You guys are running a catch and kill operation for powerful predators. The damage is irreparable. @TIMESUPNOW should be dissolved as an organization.
— Trisha (@Trisha_Tahmasbi) August 27, 2021
Tina, thank you for your thoughtful, meaningful statement. I’m grateful for the work you have done at the helm of #TimesUp and for having had the chance to collaborate with you to affect change for #Survivors #Women #Workers everywhere. 🙏🏻💜
— Caitlin Dulany (she/her) (@caitlindulany) August 26, 2021
- Others have pointed out the lack of apology from Tchen’s post.
No apology to the victims you shamed and ignored? You’re a disgrace.
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) August 26, 2021
An apology for the harm you have done would be the correct follow-up to this laughably lacking statement.
— LungoDog (@LungoDog) August 26, 2021
Couldn’t even muster an apology. Shameful.
— Serenity Now! (@Cpo10za) August 26, 2021