(NEW YORK) — A leader within Time’s Up, the organization founded in the wake of the #MeToo movement to fight gender-based discrimination in the workplace, has resigned after it emerged that she aided New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo after multiple women accused him of harassment.
Roberta “Robbie” Kaplan was the chair of the board of directors at Time’s Up before resigning Monday. She was also a co-founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund and a prominent voice in the #MeToo movement that toppled Hollywood executives and others accused of harassing and assaulting women.
“Unfortunately, recent events have made it clear that even our apparent allies in the fight to advance women can turn out to be abusers,” Kaplan said in her resignation letter obtained by ABC News.
Kaplan, also an attorney in her own private practice, stated in the letter that she has found working as a lawyer does not allow her to talk openly or have the degree of transparency now being demanded, “since that would be contrary to my responsibilities as a lawyer.”
“I therefore have reluctantly come to the conclusion that an active litigation practice is no longer compatible with serving on the Board at Times Up at this time and I hereby resign,” she stated.
“It has been difficult for me to reach this decision in light of the challenges facing women today,” she added. “Now more than ever, and especially in light of the consequences of the ongoing pandemic, we know that ‘time’ is still very much ‘up’ and that much more change needs to happen.”
Kaplan said she looks forward to “continuing the fight for change and to advancing the mission we all share.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the results of her office’s monthslong probe into the allegations against Cuomo late last week, saying he was found to have sexually harassed multiple women. In at least one instance, the governor is also accused of seeking to retaliate against a woman who leveled accusations against him, according to James’ investigation.
The more than 160-page attorney general’s office report on Cuomo names Kaplan as allegedly being involved in an effort to discredit one of Cuomo’s accusers.
Time’s Up said in a statement to ABC News that Kaplan stepped down from the board after the organization and she agreed “that is the right and appropriate thing to do.”
“We’ve worked to hold power accountable in board rooms, in the halls of government, and in organizations big and small, and we have felt uniquely capable of doing so because many of us have worked in those very institutions,” the statement said. “We have never felt co-opted by that experience, only informed by it to try new strategies. And we are proud of that work and the change we have achieved. Yet, we recognize that this work has sometimes resulted in a lack of trust from the broader survivor community we serve and to which we also belong. We are looking within.”
The organization pledged to “hold ourselves accountable.” Time’s Up said it would evaluate processes, be more transparent about its vision, and work to provide a more inclusive process to engage the “broader survivor community.”
In the wake of the attorney general’s report being released, a chorus of lawmakers — including President Joe Biden — have called for Cuomo to resign.
Cuomo has denied all allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct. When accusations emerged earlier this year, the embattled governor said he would not resign. Melissa DeRosa, one of Cuomo’s top aides, resigned on Sunday after state investigators alleged she was part of the “retaliation” against one of his accusers.
On Monday, New York State’s Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine called the findings of the report “deeply disturbing” as he ushered the committee into an executive session to discuss next steps in the impeachment investigation.
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