Roberta A. Kaplan, the chairwoman of Time’s Up and co-founder of its legal defense fund, resigned on Monday from the organization in the face of criticism of her ties to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and her involvement in an effort to discredit a woman who had accused him of sexual harassment.
In a report from the state attorney general’s office, which that found Mr. Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women, most of them current or former state employees, investigators said Ms. Kaplan had reviewed a draft of a disparaging op-ed letter that was aimed at attacking the character of Lindsey Boylan, the first woman to publicly accuse Mr. Cuomo of sexual harassment.
Ms. Kaplan, in a letter submitting her resignation from the group, founded to promote gender equality and fight sexual abuse, said that her work as a practicing lawyer meant that she could not openly answer questions about her involvement with Mr. Cuomo or Melissa DeRosa, a former top aide to the governor who Ms. Kaplan represented in the attorney general inquiry.
“I therefore have reluctantly come to the conclusion that an active law practice is no longer compatible with serving on the Board at Time’s Up at this time and I hereby resign,” Ms. Kaplan said.
Ms. DeRosa, who investigators said had led the effort against Ms. Boylan, announced her resignation from the Cuomo administration on Sunday.
The op-ed letter with which Ms. Kaplan was involved was never published. It was part of a broader effort in which Mr. Cuomo and his aides sought counsel from former administration officials including Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest L.G.B.T.Q. political lobbying organization in the country; Tina Tchen, the chief executive of Time’s Up; and the governor’s brother, Chris Cuomo, an anchor on CNN.
All of those figures have come under criticism for their connections to Mr. Cuomo, but the criticism against Ms. Chen and Ms. Kaplan has been particularly acute given the mission of Time’s Up.
On Monday morning, a group of survivors of sexual harassment and assault posted an open letter to board of Time’s Up, saying that the organization had betrayed its ideals. “TIME’S UP has abandoned the very people it was supposed to champion,” the letter, which was published on Medium, said. “The board continues to fail to heed the outcry from survivors. Time’s Up is failing all survivors.”
In her resignation letter, Ms. Kaplan acknowledged the severity of the findings of the attorney general’s report. “Unfortunately, recent events have made it clear that even our apparent allies in the fight to advance women can turn out to be abusers.”
Ms. Kaplan, a prominent attorney who helped win the battle to legalize gay marriage, represented the promise of Time’s Up, founded in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations: that high-profile women would be able to use their connections and influence to toughen protections and advance gender equality.
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But the allegations against Mr. Cuomo — an ally of the organization who worked with them to strengthen laws in New York — has called that bargain into question.
Ms. Kaplan was in a particularly awkward position. Ms. DeRosa is represented by Ms. Kaplan’s firm, and Ms. DeRosa testified in the attorney general’s inquiry that Ms. Kaplan was her lawyer. Asked by The New York Times if she had ever counseled Ms. DeRosa beyond the op-ed letter, Ms. Kaplan declined to answer.
“Today is a very sad day,” Ms. Kaplan said in an email to The Times. “I will so miss time spent with this board and our sisterhood. Going together, I hope they will be able to stick together and continue this important work.”