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Lisa Borders on September 9, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
Lisa Borders on September 9, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

Divided loyalties

Time’s Up CEO Lisa Borders resigned after son was accused of sexual misconduct, report reveals

By WITW Staff on February 22, 2019

Time’s Up CEO Lisa Borders’ abrupt decision to resign from the Hollywood women’s organization was prompted by allegations of sexual misconduct against her son, 36-year-old life coach and photographer Garry “Dijon” Bowden Jr., according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. Borders resigned just four days after Celia Gellert, a 31-year-old woman from Santa Monica, alleged in a Facebook post that Bowden had touched her genitalia, kissed her neck, and rubbed his clothed erection against her body during a “healing session.”

According to sources familiar with the situation who spoke with the Times, Borders made the Time’s Up board aware of the accusation against her son and offered to resign so as to not compromise or distract from the group’s mission. In a statement issued on Thursday in wake of The Times’ report, Time’s Up confirmed that account, writing in a statement that they had accepted Borders resignation after she “informed members of Time’s Up leadership that sexual assault allegations had been made against her son in a private forum.”

In her post, Gellert said that she went public about what transpired in order to prevent other women from being similarly abused, and because “I want to be strong and stand my ground and speak my truth.” She reported the incident to police on Wednesday, she later told The Times. Bowden has denied any wrongdoing, noting that after the healing session Gellert initially sent him a text message thanking him for a “gentle and authentic and loving” experience. Two days after the session, Gellert had reached out again to Bowden to tell him she had actually been “left feeling uncomfortable and violated” by his touching of her private areas.

The complexities of the exchange between Gellert and Bowden — as well as the case’s impact on Border’s work with Time’s Up — highlighted the way in which sexual misconduct claims can divide the loyalties of people closely connected to both alleged victims and abusers, the Times article observed. Borders’ “role as the president of Time’s Up was in conflict with being a mother who was taking active steps to defend her son,” said someone knowledgeable of the situation, who asked not to be identified. “Lisa’s decision to step down was the right one for her — and for the organization.”

Late Thursday, after The Times published its findings, Time’s Up released a statement: “On Friday, Lisa Borders informed members of Time’s Up leadership that sexual assault allegations had been made against her son in a private forum. Within 24 hours, Lisa made the decision to resign as president and CEO of Time’s Up and we agreed that it was the right decision for all parties involved. All of our actions were fully guided by our support for survivors.”

Read the full story at The Los Angeles Times.

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