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Thursday, May 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Time’s Up CEO resigns after her son is accused of sexual assault

In this Sept. 7, 2018, photo, then WNBA president Lisa Borders addresses media members before Game 1 of the WNBA basketball finals between the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
In this Sept. 7, 2018, photo, then WNBA president Lisa Borders addresses media members before Game 1 of the WNBA basketball finals between the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
By Katie Mettler Washington Post

Just three months after she took the job, the inaugural chief executive of Time’s Up – an organization born of the #MeToo movement that advocates for safe and harassment-free workplaces – abruptly resigned after her own son was accused of sexual assault.

Lisa Borders notified Time’s Up leadership last week of the allegations against her adult son. Within 24 hours, she resigned as president and chief executive, according to a statement from the advocacy group. In a joint statement with Time’s Up, posted to their Instagram account Monday, Borders said she was leaving.

But the impetus for her resignation – that her personal life had collided with her professional mission – was not initially disclosed. Rather, Borders said she had to “address family concerns” that required her “singular focus.”

Time’s Up, in its own statement, said it was the “right decision for Lisa as well as the organization.”

It wasn’t until Thursday, after the Los Angeles Times reported on the sexual assault allegations, that Time’s Up released a second statement explaining why Borders resigned.

“All of our actions were fully guided by our support for survivors,” the second statement said.

Borders left her job as WNBA president in October to join Time’s Up as its first chief executive. The organization was formed in January 2018 by a group of women in the entertainment industry and earned early recognition during last year’s film awards season. Hollywood actresses wore black and Time’s Up pins and invited advocates for sexual assault survivors to join them on the red carpet.

At the time of her hiring, Borders was praised by founder and Shondaland CEO Shonda Rhimes.

“With Lisa’s skills and leadership, Time’s Up is now in the best position to achieve what we all started – to create a more positive future for workplace culture and a more powerful network for working women of all kinds,” Rhimes said.

The Time’s Up legal defense fund had already helped employees at McDonald’s and Walmart file sexual harassment claims before Borders was hired, and during a gala in November to celebrate her appointment Borders vowed to continue that work and use her WNBA experience to help women across a litany of industries.

“We as a nation deserve what we tolerate, we as a community deserve what we tolerate,” Borders said during a speech at the celebration. “So, the bad behavior, poor treatment, or the maltreatment of women is something I personally do not wish to tolerate.”

During an interview with InStyle last month, Borders described her son as her version “2.0,” a “better version of me than I would ever be: more competent, confident and compassionate.”

In their various statements, Borders and the Time’s Up organization did not make clear if their chief executive was forced to step down and if she intends to defend her son against the sexual assault allegations.

His accuser, a Santa Monica woman who spoke to the Los Angeles Times about her experience, initially posted her account to Facebook. She told the newspaper that Borders’ son, who she said is a life coach, was sexually inappropriate with her during a healing session she had asked him to perform.

The man’s attorney, Alan Jackson, told the Los Angeles Times that his client “vehemently denies that any inappropriate or non-consensual touching occurred at any time.”

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