Good morning, Broadsheet readers! More powerful men get dragged through the mud, a woman gets tapped to run the FDIC, and one of our MPWs is back—and taking on a big job at Google. Rabbit rabbit rabbit.
Fortune’s Claire Zillman (@clairezillman) has today’s essay:
As more claims against ex-Today Show host Matt Lauer emerged yesterday, the following detail stood out to me: A woman who accused him of sexual assault “left the network about a year later,” the New York Times reports, referring to an alleged incident that took place in 2001.
(Lauer hasn’t commented on specific allegations but issued an apology yesterday.)
The woman’s exit is not the only one to occur after alleged workplace abuse. Indeed, women quitting their jobs, leaving their chosen industry, or losing their career ambition is a common thread among the recent tales of workplace sexual misconduct. Alleged sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein prompted his one-time Miramax assistant Zelda Perkins to resign. One woman who accused NPR news chief Michael Oreskes of sexual misconduct told The Washington Post: “The worst part of my whole encounter with Oreskes wasn’t the weird offers of room service lunch or the tongue kiss but the fact that he utterly destroyed my ambition.” The list goes on.
There’s a direct line to be drawn between alleged workplace sexual harassment and women quitting or questioning their jobs—and it goes beyond these anecdotes.
A recent study found that women who were sexually harassed were 6.5 times more likely to change jobs than those who were not harassed, with 80% of harassed women finding new work in the subsequent two years, versus 54% of those who hadn’t experienced such abuse. What’s more, the study found that women who experienced sexual harassment reported “significantly greater financial stress” in the following two years.
The study underscores the desperate measures that victims are forced to take to escape toxic workplaces. Said one study subject in an interview: “I quit, and I didn’t have a job. That’s it. I’m outta here. I’ll eat rice and live in the dark if I have to.”
At the same time, these findings shed a different light on the recent, high-profile ousters of alleged harassers. Their firings capture the spotlight, but the kind of behavior they’re accused of has career costs that reach far beyond vacant office suites and empty anchor chairs.
Read Claire’s full story here.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
As Claire notes above, the recent headlines have been dominated by accusations of sexual harassment and assault against powerful men. Yesterday was no different.
Rape accusations (new):
Russell Simmons has stepped down from all of his businesses, which include music label Def Jam Records and clothing label Phat Farm, following a bombshell editorial by screenwriter Jenny Lumet in The Hollywood Reporter. Lumet—who has credits for films like Rachel Getting Married and The Mummy—writes a harrowing and very graphic account of how Simmons, then a well-known family friend, allegedly drove her to his apartment and forced himself on her. The music producer denied that the incident was non-consensual (“While her memory of that evening is very different from mine, it is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real”), but nonetheless said he would be stepping away from his work and would “commit to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.”
Israel Horovitz, the longtime playwright-director best known for My Old Lady, has been accused of sexual misconduct by nine different women, reports The New York Times. The story’s title, “Nine Women Accuse Israel Horovitz, Playwright and Mentor, of Sexual Misconduct,” doesn’t capture the seriousness of the allegations, which include the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl while Horovitz was 47. The playright, now 78, says that while he has “a different memory of some of these events, I apologize with all my heart to any woman who has ever felt compromised by my actions.”
Harassment accusations (updates):
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is under pressure from Minority House Leader Nancy Pelosi to resign. “The allegations against Congressman Conyers, as we have learned more since Sunday are serious, disappointing and very credible,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference. This is a reversal for the Congresswoman, who had previously called Conyers an “icon” for his work in the civil rights movement. Conyers is being accused of harassment by multiple White House staffers.
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has being accused of a fifth woman of unwanted physical contact. Army veteran Stephanie Kemplin tells CNN that while she was deployed in Kuwait, the Minnesota Democrat cupped her breast during a photo op while Franken was on a USO tour (a story that is similar to those told by another two of the five women. The Senator is currently back in office, and his spokesperson told CNN that “he has never intentionally engaged in this kind of conduct” and “remains fully committed to cooperating with the ethics investigation.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Bryant’s back! Diane Bryant, who was previously Intel’s head of its data center business before taking a leave of absence over the past few months, will become the COO of Google’s cloud unit, the search giant said Thursday. Bryant, a veteran of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list, had had a long and established career at Intel; she was its highest ranking female executive following the departure of former Intel president Renée James in 2015.
• Male chefs’ precarious masculinity. In the wake of the sexual harassment and assault allegations plaguing the restaurant industry, Eater asks: “Why are restaurant kitchens, especially high-end kitchens, so persistently male, and why are they so inhospitable to women who seek to join their ranks?” As in so much else, the answer relates to history, and specifically to the effort “to distance restaurant cooking from home cooking—a result of a phenomenon called “precarious masculinity.” In other words, the fear is that if more women enter the industry, chefs’ cooking might be equated with “women’s work.”
• Wall Street’s soon-to-be overseer? President Donald Trump plans to nominate Jelena McWilliams to serve as the next head of the FDIC, which plays a key role in regulating U.S. banks. She currently serves as Fifth Third Bancorp’s top attorney and had previously spent three years as an attorney for the Federal Reserve’s board of governors.
• No thanks for reading. Outside magazine is taking a stance against sexual harassment after readers made lewd comments and jokes about a poll on its Facebook page asking about the issue. “If you think that sexual harassment isn’t a real problem or if you like making jokes about people getting harassed in the outdoors, do us a favor: Unsubscribe. Make good on your threats to stop reading,” the publication wrote.
• Taking on harassment at 10,000 feet. Randi Zuckerberg shared a letter she wrote to Alaska Airlines detailing how the passenger next to her “started talking to me about touching himself, kept asking me if I fantasized about the female business colleague I was traveling with, rated and commented on the women’s bodies boarding the aircraft as they walked by us.” The flight attendants brushed off the harassment—and offered to switch the Zuckerberg Media founder’s first class seat to one in the back of the plane. Only now is the airline taking action: they are conducting an investigation and have suspended the offending passenger’s travel privileges.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Chelsea Handler has partnered with EMILY’s List, where she will be the co-chair of the Creative Council. Skincare brand Rodan + Fields has appointed Elisabeth Charles as CMO.
ON MY RADAR
James Toback accuser Dani Alvarado says new film as about him
The first woman to translate the ‘Odyssey’ into English
New York Times
Michigan candidate has an idea on how to end harassment: Vote for someone without a penis
Google Translate’s gender bias pairs “he” with “hardworking” and “she” with lazy, and other examples