Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Janet Yellen goes out with a bang, Janet Jackson fans respond to JT’s Super Bowl appearance, and two more bombshell #MeToo stories rock Hollywood. Have a productive Monday.
• Time’s Up for two more. This weekend’s headline were dominated by two more big #MeToo stories coming out of Hollywood. While such news is—for better or worse—starting to feel almost routine, both of these pieces add some important nuance to the discussion of how women are treated by the entertainment industry.
On Friday, the Washington Post reported that nine women have accused Hollywood manager Vincent Cirrincione, best known as the man for boosting the careers of Halle Berry and Taraji P. Henson, of making unwanted advances—in many cases offering to represent them in exchange for a sexual relationship. (He denies that there was any quid pro quo.)
The women, eight of whom are African American and one of whom is Asian American, were initially drawn to the idea of working with Cirrincione because of his success representing women of color. Why was that so compelling? As the Post points out, black women starred in just two of the 168 top-earning U.S. films of 2015. The idea that he could help them beat the Hollywood odds must have made him a very powerful figure indeed.
Race also played into the difficulty of coming forward, at least for Tamika Lamison, who Cirrincione allegedly assaulted and propositioned in 1996. “Any kind of sexual misconduct or harassment that’s talked about from women is automatically suspect,” Lamison told the Post. “For black women, it seems like we are even more marginalized when it comes to something like that. Historically, how we have been treated and looked at — and to some degree oversexualized — makes it difficult.”
In the second story, Uma Thurman tells the New York Times‘ Maureen Dowd that she was sexually assaulted and threatened by Harvey Weinstein. She also describes some disturbing behavior by Quentin Tarantino, including pressuring her into driving a faulty car on the set of Kill Bill—leading to a crash—and taking it on himself to inflict some of the on-screen harm done to Thurman’s character, including spitting in her face and choking her with a chain.
While her accusations against Weinstein are depressingly familiar, Thurman’s description of being so dangerously mistreated by her director—someone she viewed as her partner and collaborator—are a good reminder that the challenges faced by women in entertainment are not limited to sexual harassment and assault.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Yellen out. Fed chair Janet Yellen officially stepped down from her post on Saturday—but she did not go quietly. On her last business day at the Federal Reserve, the central bank slapped new sanctions on Wells Fargo to punish it for a recent string of misbehavior, including a fake accounts scandal. Then, in a segment that aired on CBS’s Sunday Morning (though it was taped earlier), she called attention to the record high prices for U.S. stocks and commercial real estate, stopping just short of saying that the markets are in a bubble.
• Reading Roiphe. Remember the chatter about an upcoming Katie Roiphe article that was expected to name the then-anonymous woman behind the Shitty Media Men list? (The list’s creator, Moira Donegan, has since identified herself.) Well, it’s out—and causing plenty of drama online. Roiphe’s thesis is essentially, the #MeToo movement is too angry, has gone too far, and risks eroding the progress women have made in the professional sphere. Read it and draw your own conclusions here:
• She’s still in control. In the run-up to last night’s Super Bowl, the hashtag #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay trended on Twitter. The reason, of course, was Justin Timberlake’s appearance on the halftime show. As you will likely recall, his performance with Jackson at the 2004 game culminated in Timberlake tearing away a piece of her costume to reveal her breast (a.k.a. Nipplegate). In the aftermath of the controversial moment, Jackson’s career stalled, while Timberlake’s continued to soar. For insight into that moment—and why Jackson seemed to bear the brunt of the fallout—I strongly recommend this edition of the NYT’s Still Processing podcast:
New York Times
• Court vs. court of public opinion. While we’re growing used to seeing even the most powerful men face serious repercussions if they’re named in a well-reported and high-profile news story, that’s not to say the all victims of sexual harassment are finding justice. This Washington Post piece looks that the difficulties that women face when they try to pursue harassment claims within the legal system.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Founder first. As consumer skepticism about brands that use celebrities or models to pitch their products increases, more companies are using their otherwise unknown founders as their public face. Interestingly, the majority of the examples cited in this WSJ story—including Carol’s Daughter’s Lisa Price, Madison Reed’s Amy Errett, and ThirdLove’s Heidi Zak—are female founders who run businesses that target a female consumer.
• Pay gap dish. This story lets us listen in on dinner party where the conversation revolves around a single, ultra-relevant topic—the gender wage gap. In on the discussion: Evercore Wealth Management’s Jewelle Bickford, NYC Department of Sanitation’s Gayl Johnson, Hello Alfred’s Alix Keller, political strategist Melissa Robbins, and attorney Kimberly Webster.
New York Times
• Women’s work. Last week, the Saudi General Directorate of Passports for the first time posted job listings for women—and received 107,000 applications in just one week. The move is part of the kingdom’s latest economic reform, which aims to increase women in the workforce from 23% to 30%.
• Girl (Scout) power. The Girl Scouts are lobbying to change the name of a bridge that runs into Savannah, rechristening it after the group’s founder, Juliette Gordon Low, who was born in the city. Currently, the structure is named after segregationist former Gov. Eugene Talmadge.
New York Times