The former president of the Human Rights Campaign, who are the largest LGBTQ advocacy group in the US, filed a lawsuit on Thursday accusing the organization of racial discrimination in his firing last year, the Washington Post reported.
Alphonso David was fired on 6th September after a report by the New York state attorney general, Letitia James, said he had advised the former New York governor Andrew Cuomo on how to handle sexual harassment allegations, the organization’s board claimed at the time.
In the complaint, David accused HRC of fostering a “racist, biased culture.” He also said that he was told that he was initially paid less because he was Black and that an organization board member urged him to stop mentioning race in public comments, the Post reported.
At the time of his dismissal, David said the Human Rights Campaign board had “unjustly” terminated him, and said it should expect a legal challenge. David arrived at the HRC in 2019, after working for Cuomo. The organization was founded in 1980 and is based in Washington.
As part of the action, he alleges a senior HRC executive told him his high-profile advocacy for racial justice could be off-putting to the organization’s core of wealthy white donors, specifically “white gay men,” the Post reported.
“I had to challenge a system and a pattern of bias that has not only affected me, but it has affected way too many Black and brown people. Discrimination and bias are rife within HRC. And I’m just the latest person to be affected,” David told the newspaper in an interview.
He added: “I’m hoping that we recognize that institutions that purported to represent all members of our community actually have to do just that.”
HRC issued a statement denying David’s claims. “We are disappointed that Alphonso David has chosen to take retaliatory action against the Human Rights Campaign for his termination which resulted from his own actions,” HRC interim president Joni Madison said in a statement.
“Mr. David’s complaint is riddled with untruths. We are confident through the legal process that it will be apparent that Mr. David’s termination was based on clear violations of his contract and HRC’s mission, and as president of HRC, he was treated fairly and equally,” Madison said.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NBC NEWS