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Time's Up leader Roberta Kaplan resigns after criticism for reportedly aiding Cuomo on harassment allegations

"Robbie Kaplan, board co-chair, has stepped down from the board. We and she agree that is the right and appropriate thing to do," Time's Up said.
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Time's Up Chairwoman Roberta Kaplan resigned Monday after a report from the New York attorney general said she counseled Gov. Andrew Cuomo when a former adviser accused him of sexual harassment last year.

The organization, which fights for gender equality and advocates on behalf of sexual abuse victims, announced her resignation in a statement Monday.

"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 organization said. "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 group added: "Robbie Kaplan, board co-chair, has stepped down from the board. We and she agree that is the right and appropriate thing to do."

In her resignation letter, first reported by The New York Times, Kaplan said she could not openly discuss details about her involvement with Cuomo as a practicing 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 wrote.

Kaplan did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Kaplan's resignation was announced came shortly after more than 40 survivors of sexual harassment and assault published an open letter on Medium to the board of Time's Up, criticizing the organization for having betrayed "the very people it was supposed to champion."

"The board continues to fail to heed the outcry from survivors. Time's Up is failing all survivors," the letter said.

Investigators said Kaplan reviewed an unpublished op-ed letter that undermined Lindsey Boylan, the first woman to publicly accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment, according to a report the state attorney general's office issued Tuesday.

In their letter, the survivors called Kaplan's behavior "questioning."

"Whether or not you agreed to help, perpetrators of harm felt comfortable reaching out to you for crisis management. That is a problem," they wrote. "TIME'S UP cannot call for shining a light on sexual harassment and justice while working with our abusers in the shadows."

The report also alleged that Cuomo sexually harassed almost a dozen women, including employees in his office, and violated state and federal laws. Cuomo has disputed the allegations and forcefully denied wrongdoing, and he has not been charged with a crime. He has also ignored renewed calls to resign after the report was released.

Melissa DeRosa, a top aide to Cuomo, resigned Sunday after the report was released last week, saying in a statement that the last two years have been "emotionally and mentally trying." Kaplan represented DeRosa in the attorney general's investigation.