The head of anti-sexual harassment campaign group Time’s Up has resigned over the organisation’s ties to scandal-hit former New York governor Andrew Cuomo.
Mr Cuomo, one of the highest profile politicians in the US, resigned earlier this month under intense pressure after 11 women accused him of behaving inappropriately.
Tina Tchen had been CEO of Time’s Up since October 2019. It was established by heavyweight Hollywood figures including Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in 2017.
She reportedly offered advice to the now-ousted Democratic governor Mr Cuomo as he desperately fought to keep his job.
Ms Tchen, a lawyer and the former chief of staff for Michelle Obama, announced her decision to stand down on Thursday, saying in a statement her leadership had become a “painful and divisive focal point”.
She said: “Now is the time for Time’s Up to evolve and move forward as there is so much more work to do for women.
“It is clear that I am not the leader who can accomplish that in this moment. 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.
“Therefore, it is time for me to resign and continue to work for change in other ways, and to let Time’s Up engage in the thoughtful and meaningful process I know will occur to move forward.”
Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer who was co-chair of the Time’s Up board, had already resigned over her role in the Cuomo scandal.
Reports in the US said both she and Ms Tchen had reviewed a draft letter that smeared Lindsey Boylan, one of Mr Cuomo’s accusers.
Responding to Ms Tchen’s resignation, Time’s Up said it was “grateful for her hard work and impact”.
The group said: “Accepting her resignation today is a demonstration of accountability and will allow our organisation to move forward.”
Monifa Bandele, whose previous roles include stints at prominent non-profits, has been named interim CEO of Time’s Up.