Eva Longoria, Shonda Rhimes and Jurnee Smollett have all left the board of Time’s Up, an organization dedicated to advocating for victims of sexual harassment in workplace settings, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The reasons behind the trio’s exit from the charity were indirectly addressed in a statement that was shared to its official website on Saturday, where it was noted that a ‘new and reconstituted board’ of leaders would be chosen in the near future.
The departures of the entertainment industry figures come not long after it was revealed that former board chair Roberta Kaplan was embroiled in former New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s ongoing sexual harassment scandal.
Stepping away: Eva Longoria, Shonda Rhimes and Jurnee Smollett have all left the anti-sexual harassment organization Time’s Up in the wake of a scandal regarding its leaders’ involvement with Andrew Cuomo; she is seen in 2019
The official statement began by laying out the organization’s intentions when it was initially founded.
It read: ‘TIME’S UP was created to support the goal of safe, fair, dignified work for all women.’
The message also pointed out that the group was still dedicated to its mission amid the ongoing scandal concerning its former board chair’s actions and connection to the ousted governor.
‘It is crucial to us as a board that the organization remain in service to this seismic, global work to demand equity and disrupt systems that foster discrimination, harassment and abuse. We see the current crisis within TIME’S UP as an important opportunity for growth and change.’
Looking up: In a statement that was released on Time’s Up’s official website, it was noted that the ongoing scandal regarding its leaders offered ‘an important opportunity for growth and change’; Rhimes is seen in 2019
It was then noted that the group was looking to the future despite the setback it is currently experiencing and that a temporary head of the charity had already been chosen.
‘TIME’S UP is ready for new leadership, and we want to move forcefully toward its new iteration. We have strong faith in the talent and dedication of our interim CEO Monifa Bandele as a leader.’
It was expressed in the statement that Bandele ‘will be overseeing a comprehensive assessment of the organization, in collaboration with an outside consultant, and the input of our stakeholders.’
The departures of the trio, as well as several other figures within the group, was then addressed, with the reason being given as a restructuring of sorts.
Checking it out: It was also noted that the interim CEO of Time’s Up, Monifa Bandele, would be ‘overseeing a comprehensive assessment of the organization’; Smollett is seen at the 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards in May
Specifically, it read that ‘the members of the existing board will be stepping aside over the next 30 days, giving our CEO the ability to refocus the organization’s leadership to suit its mission and needs.’
The statement concluded by noting that the group would remain committed to its original intention of combating sexual harassment in the workplace despite the restructuring.
‘TIME’S UP belongs to all women. Its mission must continue – until we live in a world in which no woman ever needs to say #timesup again,’ it read.
In addition to Longoria, Rhimes and Smollett, other board members who will be departing the organization include Nina Shaw, Katie McGrath and Ana Navarro.
Doing it over: The statement also pointed out that the ‘refocus the organization’s leadership to suit its mission and needs’
Several others were asked by Bandele to stay while Time’s Up is restructured.
Last month, it was revealed that former board chair Roberta Kaplan had advised the disgraced governor in drafting a letter that was intended to discredit the accusations of one of his victims.
An open letter was also posted on Medium, which served to express the outrage of nearly 150 beneficiaries of the organization over the former executive’s involvement with Cuomo and his ongoing scandal.
The signers also called for a third-party investigation into the group and for all of the ‘board members, and staffers, who have supported perpetrators of harm’ to be removed from the group.
Ousted: Time’s Up’s former board chair, Roberta Kaplan, left the organization after it was revealed that she had advised Cuomo after he was accused of sexual harassment; she is pictured in 2018
Time’s Up’s former president and CEO, Tina Tchen, also stepped away from the group after The Washington Post shared a text conversation regarding the scandal in which she had participated.
In the messages, the former leader of the organization urged her colleagues to ‘stand down’ after the idea of supporting one of Cuomo’s first accusers was brought up.
Tchen later released a public statement on Time’s Up’s official website where she announced that she would be leaving the group after her involvement in the scandal was revealed.
In the message, she wrote that her presence in the organization had ‘become a painful and divisive focal point’ for many of its members.
Departed: The group’s former president and CEO, Tina Tchen, also resigned from her position after her involvement in the scandal was revealed; she is pictured in 2016
Cuomo stepped down from his position as New York’s governor last month after a report was published by the state’s Attorney General, Letitia James, where it was determined that he had committed several acts of sexual harassment.
During a press conference, the official noted via People that the former governor had engaged in several instances of ‘unwanted groping, kisses, hugging, and making inappropriate comments’ towards state employees.
The former politician denied that he had committed any of the alleged acts that he was accused of and eventually stepped down from his position, which was filled by Kathy Hochul, who became New York’s first female governor.
One of Cuomo’s accusers, Lindsay Boylan, has announced that she will be filing a lawsuit against him, and he is currently the subject of separate criminal investigations by district attorneys in several New York counties.
Disgraced: Cuomo stepped down from his position as New York’s governor last month after an investigation found that he had committed several acts of sexual harassment while in office; he is pictured in July