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Time’s Up Dissolves Advisory Board That Included Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain and Reese Witherspoon

Time's Up monifa bandele
Courtesy of Time's Up

Time’s Up has dissolved an advisory board that included several A-list Hollywood actors, including Jessica Chastain and Reese Witherspoon, as the organization continues to face an existential crisis.

The advocacy group — formed with much fanfare just three years ago at the height of the #MeToo movement — has been profoundly harmed by its mishandling of harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Time’s Up announced on Saturday that its governing board would resign over the next 30 days, and that a new board would be chosen to oversee the group. Only four of the 22 governing board members were expected to stick around for a transitional period.

Time’s Up also had a 71-member advisory board, which included a broad range of activists and Hollywood stars. In addition to Chastain and Witherspoon, the board members included Natalie Portman, Janelle Monae, Brie Larson, Tessa Thompson, Padma Lakshmi, Laura Dern, America Ferrera, Kerry Washington, Tarana Burke, Alyssa Milano, Gretchen Carlson, Amy Schumer and Julianne Moore.

Nina Shaw, a Time’s Up cofounder, notified the members via email on Sunday morning that the advisory board — formally called the Global Leadership Board — had been dissolved.

“This is notice to you that effective immediately, Time’s Up has dissolved the Global Leadership Board,” she wrote. “There is no need for your individual resignations, as the group no longer exists.”

Shaw sent a follow-up email to the members later that evening, apologizing for the “hasty communication,” and acknowledging that the “abruptness caught many of you by surprise.”

“The goal behind a quick dissolution of the GLB was to shield all of you from unfair scrutiny,” she wrote. “We didn’t think it was possible to have the meeting with the entire GLB ahead of the decision, but we also realize that much nuance was lost in the communication.”

Shaw added that Time’s Up plans to rebuild, “hopefully with the collaboration of many of its founders and stakeholders.”

“You have all given your time, energy, hearts and resources to building this organization, and your voices are crucial as Time’s Up begins its next chapter,” she wrote.

According to a source familiar with the situation, some members were facing pressure to step down. Others were wary of having their names appear in unflattering stories about the organization.

“I think it was an effort to shield people who put a lot of time and energy into the cause from unfair criticism,” said one former member. “Ninety-nine point nine percent of the members of Time’s Up weren’t involved in the Cuomo scandal, especially the Hollywood contingent.”

This person also pointed out that many of the people on the list haven’t been actively involved in Time’s Up for years, and that the new CEO will likely want to rebuild the organization from scratch.

Time’s Up has been in freefall since the release of the New York attorney general’s report on the allegations against Cuomo in early August. The report showed that Time’s Up leaders had collaborated with the Cuomo administration on how he should respond. Subsequent reporting also showed that CEO Tina Tchen had blocked the release of a statement supporting Lindsey Boylan, the original Cuomo accuser, and had suggested that she was not a credible source.

Tchen resigned on Aug. 26. Monifa Bandele has been appointed interim CEO, and has been tasked with completing “a comprehensive assessment of the organization.”

Kate Aurthur contributed to this report.