Time’s Up will lay off most of its 25-member staff at the end of the year and its interim CEO will depart, as the women’s rights organization looks to “reset” in the wake of a debilitating conflict-of-interest scandal.
The organization announced the changes on Friday. The group also released a 54-page report that seeks to address the organizational failures that contributed to its mishandling of sexual harassment charges against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
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Monifa Bandele, who has served as interim CEO for the last three months, will step down at the end of the year, leaving just three staffers and a four-member board — which includes Ashley Judd, one of Harvey Weinstein’s first accusers — to lead the transition.
“The board has decided that a major reset is needed,” Bandele wrote in an opinion piece for USA Today. “We are now in the process of rebuilding Time’s Up from the ground up.”
Tina Tchen, the former Time’s Up CEO and a onetime chief of staff to Michelle Obama, resigned in August after the Washington Post reported that she had instructed the group not to issue a statement in support of Cuomo’s initial accuser.
Earlier that month, the New York Attorney General’s office issued a damning report on the allegations against Cuomo, which precipitated his resignation. The report found that Cuomo’s office had worked with Time’s Up at the outset to manage its response to the charges. Roberta Kaplan, the chair of Time’s Up, was forced to resign in the wake of that report.
Most of the other board members stepped down in early September, and the organization then dissolved a star-studded advisory board, which included celebrities like Natalie Portman and Jessica Chastain.
Time’s Up hired consultant Leilani M. Brown to conduct a “phase one” report, which was based on interviews with 85 people connected to the organization. The report addressed the widespread perception that the board failed to actively supervise the CEO, and that conflicts of interest were not well managed. The report also cited the impression that Time’s Up was too closely aligned with Democratic Party politicians.
“Employees shared that TIME’S UP’s status as a ‘well-connected’ organization was a weakness and that the world needed an organization that is not ‘engaged in or beholden to politics,'” the report states.
Some staffers also complained of a lack of clear focus on the organization’s goals. One interviewee brought up Time’s Up’s decision to criticize the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for its lack of Black members, suggesting that the group had become distracted from its primary mission.
“These questions indicated that many didn’t fully understand or appreciate the connection of racial justice work to the mission of TIME’S UP,” the report concluded.
The report also cited organizational dynamics, such as a failure to adhere to a traditional chain of command and a tendency to form cliques.
The report does not identify investigative findings, but rather offers 10 “key insights” on issues such as culture, board governance and communication. The report advises that it “should not be considered the result of an investigation.”
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