by Mary Margaret Olohan
Calls for TIME’S UP co-founder Tina Tchen to resign are growing amid more and more evidence that she worked against Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s accusers.
“Time’s Up managed to twist victim advocacy to protecting sexual predators in power,” President Joe Biden’s accuser Tara Reade told the Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday morning.
“Tina Tchen in her role at Time’s Up was entrusted with a sacred duty of holding survivors’ trust as they navigate coming forward about sexual abuse by a powerful man,” she added. “These recent revelations demonstrate not her dereliction in her basic duties to survivors but her using her power to silence and discredit us.”
TIME’S UP co-founder Roberta Kaplan resigned Aug. 9 after investigators found she aided the Cuomo administration in discrediting his accusers, according to a report by the New York attorney general’s office. That report found that Cuomo had “sexually harassed a number of State employees through unwelcome and unwanted touching” and “offensive and sexually suggestive comments.”
Tchen was also implicated in the report but vigorously denied any involvement in discrediting Cuomo accusers. A Wednesday evening report from the Washington Post, however, found that Tchen told colleagues not to back Cuomo accuser Lindsey Boylan and pressured top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa to personally oversee an investigation into the “workplace culture” at the governor’s office.
“chief executive @TinaTchen told her colleagues to “stand down” from a plan to release a public statement supporting Cuomo’s first accuser, @LindseyBoylan, after two people connected to the group spoke with @melissadderosa, the governor’s longtime adviser.
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) August 26, 2021
DeRosa briefed Kaplan about a Cuomo statement in response to Boylan’s allegations, two people familiar with the conversations told the Post, and Kaplan shared that statement with Tchen. Text messages from Dec. 15 obtained by the Post show that Tchen then told her colleagues to “stand down” and not release a statement supporting Boylan’s allegations.
The Washington Post report also detailed how TIME’S UP staff discussed issuing a standard statement that supported Boylan’s right to be heard after Fox News reached out to the organization on Dec. 15 about the allegations against Cuomo. Both Tchen and board member Hilary Rosen (who is vice chair of communications at consulting firm SKDK) argued that TIME’S UP should not respond in a statement.
Rosen wrote that she did not want to provide Fox “a headline to run all day,” the publication reported. Rosen told the Post that Fox News has a reputation for politicizing sexual harassment and that she did not want to give them the opportunity to do so “as a survivor.”
“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,” Tchen told the Post on Wednesday evening. “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.”
News of Tchen’s actions prompted renewed calls for her to step down from her position.
“The audacity of Tina Tchen to remain in her position after all of this news is really a slap in the face,” Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett told The Daily Beast. “I don’t understand how she can be a leader in this space anymore.”
“You can ask for all the feedback in the world, but if you’re one of the perpetrators, you just shouldn’t be at the table,” she added.
Boylan, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the DCNF, has repeatedly retweeted posts calling for Tchen to resign.
“I think of all the privileges and opportunities I’ve been afforded in my life,” Boylan tweeted. “If this is how I get treated, how do millions of survivors across America get treated? We know the answer. They are silenced. They are called crazy. They are destroyed for telling THE TRUTH.”
I think of all the privileges and opportunities I’ve been afforded in my life.
If this is how I get treated, how do millions of survivors across America get treated?
We know the answer. They are silenced. They are called crazy. They are destroyed for telling THE TRUTH. https://t.co/y2U0sL6gEq
— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) August 26, 2021
“Reminder: It is not MY truth. It is THE truth,” tweeted Boylan, who also accused Rosen and Tchen of stepping “on the faces of the women” they “pretend” to help in a separate tweet.
You step on the faces of the women you pretend at helping, https://t.co/qQqA2X5KpE
— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) August 26, 2021
Reade told the DCNF that Tchen has done both visible and invisible damage to public trust, adding that “her profiteering from misery should be the final pin in this.”
“Time’s Up needs to be dismantled and reimagined with a survivor based protocol and leadership,” Reade said.
And yet, after all this time, here’s the one thing I can’t bring myself, a former Cuomo staffer & survivor of sexual abuse, to understand:
How could @TIMESUPNOW have allowed itself to jeopardize the safe & powerful space it was building to protect & empower survivors?
— Alessandra Biaggi (@Biaggi4NY) August 26, 2021
It’s embarrassing enough that a group formed to help abuse victims is complicit in enabling abusers. However, it’s downright bizarre how @tinatchen hasn’t resigned yet. If Tchen doesn’t resign, donors can and should pursue legal recourse for the fraudulence purported here. https://t.co/COUMa9jgnJ
— Joshua Sauberman • জুবর্মান • 佐伯曼 • זאוברמן • 사우버맨 (@JoshForNY) August 26, 2021
“In light of these recent texts revealed between Time’s Up leadership it is obvious their apologies to survivors are hollow,” Reade added. “They just got caught. If these text messages about Cuomo survivors were of this nature imagine the exchanges about Joe Biden. Perhaps this will lead to a watershed of information regarding the corrupt connections and an investigation into POTUS.”
TIME’S UP has not responded to requests for comment from the DCNF.
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Mary Margaret Olohan is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.