Good morning, Broadsheet readers! We learn the horrifying details of McKayla Maroney’s abuse by Larry Nassar, the world says goodbye to Barbara Bush, and the men brought down by #MeToo are starting to plot their comebacks. Have a productive Monday.
• Not today, guys. I don’t know about you, but I’m nowhere near ready to see Matt Lauer, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, Mario Batali, or any of the host of other powerful men brought down by the #MeToo movement return to public life. Yet in the past week or so, there’s been an ominous drip-drip-drip of stories reporting on how these men are fairing in “exile” and speculating about how they might stage their comebacks.
Not surprisingly, I’m far from the only one alarmed by this turn of events. In this Vox piece, Anna North warns that allowing harassers a second chance at this stage in the game increases the likelihood that we’ll skip over the work that needs to be done to fix the systematic problems that allowed such men to thrive in the first place. Before we can begin to contemplate how the perpetrators can be redeemed, writes North, “the companies and industries where these people operated need to think about their redemption, making sure they identify and change the practices that protected and enabled abusers for too long.”
Writing in Jezebel, Stassa Edwards calls out the performative “redemption narrative” that men like Batali and Lauer are enacting, noting that despite all their supposed soul searching, “It’s revealing that such self-reflection never results in the conclusion that men who have spent careers harassing and bullying should not return to those careers. They never reach the conclusion that their past actions have permanently degraded their authority as cultural arbiters.”
But the piece that really nailed the heart of the problem—and the media’s potential complicity—for me is this Ringer post by Lindsay Zoladz. I encourage you to read her whole story (as well as North’s and Edwards’), but here’s the section that had me pounding my desk in agreement:
“To welcome someone like C.K. or Batali back into the fold not six months after these accusations broke is to intimidate other victims from speaking out, because it will make them think their stories don’t matter, or that the power granted to them by the #MeToo movement was just a temporary spell. To write about them sympathetically, to give them more ink than the names and achievements of their accusers, to run headlines suggesting a “likely” comeback, is to participate in the very culture that allowed these men to behave badly in the first place. It is a failure to imagine a different story, a better world.”
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• An FBI fail. This heartbreaking story reveals details of the years of abuse gymnast McKayla Maroney suffered at the hands of former Team USA doctor Larry Nassar, as well as the many people and institutions—including the FBI—that failed to help her when she needed it most. Maroney was apparently Nassar’s “favorite” gymnast, the WSJ reports, adding these chilling sentences: “He always treated her last, sometimes keeping her two or three times longer than others. He photographed her constantly.”
• Chasing Chozick. In this adaptation from her new book, Chasing Hillary, Amy Chozick reflects on her time—all 1,226 days of it—covering Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign for the NYT. Chozick, who doesn’t shy away from analyzing the Clinton campaign’s failings, writes movingly about her regrets over covering John Podesta’s hacked emails, which she now believes made her “a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence.”
New York Times
• A love story to remember. Much of Barbara Bush’s funeral, which took place in Houston on Saturday, was a celebration of her 73-year marriage to George H.W. Bush—the longest presidential union in American history. “Our family has had a front-row seat for the most amazing love story,” said Jeb Bush in his eulogy. The former president wore socks embroidered with books to the gathering, a tribute to his wife’s lifelong devotion to promoting literacy. The Clintons and the Obamas were also in attendance to celebrate the life of the former first lady, as was Melania Trump.
• Window dressing or secret weapon? With Facebook still in the hot seat over its handling of users’ personal data, some are wondering what role Campbell Brown, the company’s head of news partnerships, is really playing at the social networking giant. Is she merely a figurehead—or does she wield actual power within the company? While her defenders note that she has been one of the few Facebookers willing to question some of the company’s decisions, others see Campbell is a “more insidious figure—a telegenic personality with close ties to conservative figures who can offer Facebook’s outreach the veneer of journalistic credibility.”
New York Times
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Moya Greene (No. 34 on our international MPW list) will step down as CEO of Royal Mail in June.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• That “third rate reporter” won a Pulitzer. President Trump attacked New York Times political reporter Maggie Haberman this weekend, after she contributed to a story that suggested his longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen might cooperate with federal investigators. Haberman, who regularly fires back at critics on Twitter, responded: “When I was reporting this story, I said to one person who’s observed the Cohen-Trump relationship that Trump has been abusive to him. The person replied, ‘He’s abusive to everybody.’”
• Taking a page from Wolizer. Meg Wolizer, the author of a personal favorite—The Interestings—among other novels, writes about finding her way through the sometimes uncomfortable transition from mentee to mentor.
• Hello to Hallewood. Halle Berry is the latest actress to try her hand at the lifestyle business. Her new site, Hallewood, will feature health, style, fitness, and beauty content. As this Racked story notes, Berry’s history—she’s experienced serious health issues and is a domestic violence survivor—puts her focus on wellness and fitness (including self-defense training) in a different light than that of some of her fellow celeb lifestyle gurus.
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