WARNING: the following article contains subject matter which may be disturbing to readers.
- Young Americans for Liberty removed its president, Cliff Maloney, after multiple allegations of sexual abuse and harassment arose from young women within the organization who posted to Twitter with the hashtag #YALtoo.
- Since the allegations were posted, multiple public figures in the Liberty Movement have expressed support for the ladies and demanded that the organization properly handle the allegations, which the accusers say were not handled properly before the #YALtoo movement went viral.
- Liberland Press has compiled some Tweets which explain what allegedly happened, and has spoken with both YAL officials and alleged victims to get multiple sides of the story.
- Cliff Maloney Tweeted that the allegations are “100% false,” but later deleted his post of denial.
One of America’s most active libertarian student organizations now has one less face on the staff page of their website. Cliff Maloney, now-former-President of Young Americans for Liberty, has been accused of engaging in and facilitating sexual misconduct within the organization.
Several ladies within Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) came forward with stories of sexual abuse, harassment, and rape allegedly committed by officers within the organization. Since then, the YAL Board of Directors has “terminated” Maloney. This decision comes after both Maloney and Vice President of Grassroots Justin Greiss were placed “on administrative leave pending the conclusion of a thorough investigation into all allegations” of misconduct.
YAL Spokeswoman Emma Phillips wrote a lengthy thread in her personal capacity about this issue here, saying, “YAL and the Liberty movement cannot be unsafe places for women. If there’s anywhere in the world we should belong, it’s a movement based on the principles of non-aggression, consent, and personal liberty.”
Phillips spoke with Liberland Press on Jan 27, saying, “YAL takes the recently surfaced allegations very seriously. As such, we are in the midst of a thorough external investigation into all claims, including those against our existing HR process. To protect the privacy of those involved and the integrity of this process, findings will not be made available until this investigation is completed. The staff at YAL looks forward to swift justice.”
Here are some examples of the allegations that were made on Twitter:
Addyson Rae Garner was an early whistleblower on these allegations.
“…once he got her alone, [Maloney] tried to use his position at YAL to extort her for sex at the expense of her good standing within the organization.“ADDYSON RAE GARNER
Ophelia Overton, who has served as a Deputy Regional Director for Young Americans for Liberty, announced her intention to take YAL to court over her own experiences.
Several other young women have shared stories of either themselves or friends of theirs being sexually abused/harassed/raped while involved with YAL.
On Jan 27, Liberland Press spoke with a female source (“Source1”) who worked as an election coordinator during May and June of 2020 for Make Liberty Win PAC (the entity for YAL’s “Operation Win at the Door” campaign efforts). Source1 told Liberland Press the following story about when she encountered Maloney during an airplane trip:
Source1 also told Liberland Press of a hostile work/living environment that was allegedly created by a male co-worker of hers while she was living in YAL-arranged housing during her work with Make Liberty Win PAC:
Liberland Press asked Maggie Anders, YAL, and Daniel Stuart about the allegations by Source1. Anders responded on Jan 28 with the following statement:
Some alleged victims have chosen to remain anonymous.
Maloney denies, then deletes
The former YAL President denied the allegations in a Tweet, saying:
“Allegations against me are 100% false.”Cliff Maloney
Maloney has since deleted the Tweet, but not before Liberland Press had the chance to screenshot it.
Despite the appearance of Maloney’s Tweet, multiple insiders from YAL say that his Tweet was NOT a reflection of where the organization stands on these issues. YAL Midwest + Northern Regional Director Tony Guajardo wrote, “the statement from Cliff on Saturday does NOT reflect the stance of me personally nor this organization,” while Phillips concurred, “Adding insult to injury, Cliff made a statement Saturday at midnight on his personal twitter [sic] account, claiming that allegations were ‘100% false.’ This was made to appear as YAL’s official position, which it is most certainly not. I have personally clarified that with the board.”
Maggie Anders indicated that Maloney’s public denial motivated her to share her own story, saying, “Today I reached my breaking point when Cliff denied his own allegations.”
The Liberty community responds
Famous figures, local chapters, and individual members of the Liberty Movement have spoken in support of #YALtoo, including former U.S. Congressman Justin Amash, 2020 Libertarian Party Vice-Presidential Nominee Spike Cohen, Editor for The Daily Wire Cabot Phillips, 2020 Libertarian Party Nominee for Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Todd Hagopian, and former Libertarian presidential primary candidate Vermin Supreme.
Amash wrote, “Recent claims of misconduct suggest Young Americans for Liberty hasn’t adequately or always protected the rights of individuals in its care. As a longtime ally and contributor to @YALiberty, I’m devastated and saddened by the organization’s deficient response to the allegations.”
Amash, who is America’s first Libertarian Party member of Congress, also called for an independent investigation into the matter, saying, “At a minimum, any investigation should be conducted by persons independent of YAL, and anyone accused of misconduct should be placed on administrative leave pending completion. It will be difficult to rebuild trust, but it will be impossible without a full and fair examination.”
Jeremy “Spike” Cohen, running mate for Jo Jorgensen’s 2020 U.S. Libertarian presidential campaign, echoed Amash’s sentiment of the need for an independent investigation, adding, “Sexual assault has no place anywhere. It is a disgusting violation of the autonomy and rights of its victims, they need to be protected and their abusers punished. If it turns out that it has been allowed to fester there, letting that continue creates more harm and more victims.”
Other individuals and local chapters in the Liberty Movement have also spoken up.
Hagopian gave his updated thoughts to Liberland Press on Jan 27, saying, “I believe that Cliff was let go. So, in that sense, justice prevailed to some degree. I have not heard anything else about it at this point. Obviously, it seems like the organization needs to do some house cleaning, and put some stricter guidelines in place to make it more welcoming to women, and less accepting of the frat house atmosphere.”
On Jan 27, American University’s chapter of YAL spoke with Liberland Press on Twitter, saying, “AU YAL was happy to see YAL National take concrete steps following ours and other chapter’s statements, such as removing Cliff Maloney. We are not aware of any specific details of the investigation but this chapter is working with other chapters to demand further action, namely the removal Justin Greiss, one of YAL’s VP’s, who was also credibly accused numerous times. More on that to come soon as we continue to work together on that. We are encouraged by the work so far and hope that justice will in fact prevail.”
David Herbst spoke with Liberland Press, saying that (with these allegations of misconduct) “you want to see a process that everyone can feel happy about.” Herbst added that “the Liberty Movement” has “respect” for fellow humans as an ideological foundation and that the same principle of respect should be reflected in how liberty-minded organizations operate.
“I don’t want to see YAL disappear or fall apart.”David Herbst
Herbst added that he hopes for the redemption of YAL as an organization, saying, “I don’t want to see YAL disappear or fall apart.”
Since the firing of Cliff Maloney, Sean Themea has become the Interim President. However, Maloney “was at the controls” of the official YAL Twitter account long enough to block some critics of his, a Tweet by Guajardo shows.
As of the time of this writing, Greiss remains on the staff page of YAL as Vice President of Grassroots.
Kaleigh Cunningham, who appears as “Ancap Tree Hugger,” told Liberland Press that, since the peak trend of the #YALtoo Movement, “The silence around it all recently is very concerning. I have an inbox FULL of people ready to start a new org if all of the bad actors are not removed from YAL.”
YAL Candidate Specialist Justin Maloney, (who claims he is NOT related to Cliff Maloney) resigned. In Justin Maloney’s Facebook announcement, he stated, “My reasons are not completely related to Cliff’s heinous actions but others from the previous 7 months,” adding, “I did not know they were going to terminate his contract when I resigned.”
Liberland Press has reached out to Young Americans for Liberty, Cliff Maloney, Garner, Greiss, Overton, Cabot Phillips, “LiberTay,” “Mantis Girl,” Anders, Guajardo, Amash, Cohen, Hagopian, “Vermin Supreme,” American University YAL chapter, Themea, Justin Maloney, Daniel Stuart, and dozens of other individuals who either are involved with YAL or who made claims of sexual harassment or abuse.
DISCLOSURE: The author of this article is a member of Young Americans for Liberty and a former contractor for YAL’s Make Liberty Win PAC. This article is published without approval from any parties other than the author and Liberland Press.