Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Asos is celebrating bathing suit season with visible stretch marks, the White House pay gap outpaces the national average, and the chickens of sexual harassment and discrimination are coming home to roost in Silicon Valley. Have a productive Wednesday.
• A new low for the Valley. While the Broadsheet had the last few days off for the holiday weekend, the news—and particularly the news about sexual harassment in the tech and VC community—did not take a break.
First came Katie Benner’s Friday New York Times story, in which several female tech entrepreneurs spoke on the record about being sexually harassed. (In all, Benner writes that she interviewed more than two dozen women for the story.) Ten of her sources named the investors involved—including high-profile VCs Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital and Dave McClure of 500 Startups.
Sacca and McClure responded swiftly. Sacca apologized for “having caused my share of this mess,” but refuted Susan Wu’s charge that he once touched her face without her consent in a way that made her uncomfortable. McClure, meanwhile, responded to Sarah Kunst’s accusations that he propositioned her by publishing a Medium post titled “I’m a creep. I’m sorry,” in which he said he was stepping back from his leadership role at 500 Startups. But after a partner at his firm, Elizabeth Yin, resigned, stating that the company had covered up a previous report that McClure had sexually assaulted an employee, he finally stepped down. Hours later, a second entrepreneur, Cheryl Sew Hoy, accused him of propositioning her and then pushing himself on her and kissing her without consent in 2014.
Benner’s latest story, published Monday, reveals an industry at a tipping point. While the bravery of those who’ve come forward is forcing some to grapple with just how large and ingrained the problem is, others reportedly see a “witch hunt” in which no man will be spared.
Change is hard, especially when it challenges the power of those who sit comfortably at the top, propped up by the status quo. So, as more women (and there will be more) share their stories of harassment and discrimination, I’m not surprised to see a backlash brewing. No doubt there are more stomach-turning displays of misogyny to come. But from Ellen Pao and Kleiner Perkins to Fox News, Uber to Binary Capital, and now, 500 Startups, the lesson is clear: Speaking up is powerful. The wave of women who have come forward have opened the door for real change. Let’s not let anyone shut it.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Another Fox firing. 21st Century Fox has fired yet another top executive amidst charges of sexual harassment. This time, it’s Jamie Horowitz, who ran sports programming for Fox Sports.
• Governing gap. The annual White House report disclosing the salaries of its staffers revealed a Trump administration gender pay gap that’s wider than the national average. Women working in the White House are paid 80 cents for every dollar earned by their male colleagues, while women nationwide earn 82 cents for every dollar men take home, according to the Labor Department.
• Legislating while female. In a fascinating report created from interviews with 83 of the 108 women who served in Congress in 2015-2016, female lawmakers speak out about “how they see their roles as policymakers and role models and through the prism of their gender.” Their strikingly candid comments are worth a read.
• No mixing, no mingling? Forgive me for including this NYT story—it’s a few days old now, but too interesting to skip. According to a Morning Consult poll, a surprising number of men and women still find it inappropriate to mix, socially or at work, with people of the opposite gender. The researchers found that nearly two-thirds say people should “take extra caution around members of the opposite sex at work,” and that a majority of women, and nearly half of men, say it’s unacceptable to have dinner or drinks alone with someone of the opposite sex other than their spouse. Among other revelations, these results “explain in part why women still don’t have the same opportunities as men. They are treated differently not just on the golf course or in the boardroom, but in daily episodes large and small, at work and in their social lives.”
New York Times
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• In a state. The New York Times‘ Claire Cain Miller notes that, despite the Trump administration’s promises to help working families, the majority of new laws designed to actually accomplish that goal are being passed at the state level. In this Upshot piece, she examines several examples and looks at how such policies may help put pressure on the federal government to take action.
New York Times
• Shake Shack shake-up. Tara Comonte, Shake Shack Inc.’s new finance chief, aims to give the burger chain a tech makeover. Her appointment comes as Shake Shack faces a dip in same-store sales and a falling stock price.
• At home with stretch. Asos, the British fast fashion brand, is being cheered by many for featuring photos of unedited swimsuit and underwear models with visible stretch marks.
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