Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Three women are suing Charlie Rose, Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario talks about why the company is taking on President Trump, and Backstage Capital launches a new fund that will invest exclusively in black female founders. Have an inspiring Monday.
• Making money moves. Backstage Capital, the venture fund led by founder and managing partner Arlan Hamilton, has raised a new $36 million fund that will invest exclusively in black female founders. Hamilton, who announced the fund at the United State of Women 2018 Summit in Los Angeles, Calif., says the money will be invested $1 million at a time.
“They’re calling it a ‘diversity fund,’” she tweeted yesterday, “I’m calling it an IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME fund.”
She’s right about that—as we have reported before, female founders received less than 3% of all venture capital dollars last year, while black female founders got just 0.2% in recent years, according to digitalundivided.
There are other firms that invest exclusively in women, but this is the first I’ve heard of to focus exclusively on black female founders. And predictably, Hamilton spent at least part of her weekend fending off trolls accusing her of “discrimination.” (My personal favorite was her response to a poster who posited that there would be outrage if someone created a fund that only invested in white men. Hamilton: “That’s every. Other. Fund.”)
This is BIG step forward for the venture world. Cheers to Hamilton for giving these underserved founders a shot at the cash they need—and for jumping in to fill what I imagine will prove to be a very lucrative hole in the market. For more on the VC and her investing strategy, check out her star turn on the new season of StartUp and this interview she did in January with our colleague Polina Marinova.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Rose gets served. On the heels of the Washington Post‘s bombshell story in which an additional 27 women accused Charlie Rose of abuse, the former TV host is being sued by three former CBS employees, who allege that he sexually harassed them and threatened their jobs. The plaintiffs—Katherine Brooks Harris, Sydney McNeal, and Yuqing (“Chelsea”) Wei—each allege that Rose harassed them as recently as 2017. The lawsuit also accuses CBS executives of failing to warn the employees about Rose’s history of misconduct.
• Diaz withdraws. Junot Diaz has withdrawn from the Sydney Writers’ Festival amid allegations that he forcefully kissed a woman and showed aggressive behavior toward others. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao author said in a statement: “I take responsibility for my past. That is the reason I made the decision to tell the truth of my rape and its damaging aftermath. This conversation is important and must continue. I am listening to and learning from women’s stories in this essential and overdue cultural movement. We must continue to teach all men about consent and boundaries.”
• Blood money. Previously sealed documents seen by the Wall Street Journal provide new insight into, as Fortune‘s Marinova puts it, “just how much capital has sunken with the Theranos ship.” Among those who invested—and lost—big on the Elizabeth Holmes-led blood-testing startup: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and family ($100 million), News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch ($125 million), and Walmart heirs, the Walton family ($150 million).
• Patagonia vs. the president. Patagonia is suing President Trump, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the secretary of agriculture, the director of the Bureau of Land Management, and the chief of the Forest Service over Trump’s announcement of plans to sharply reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah. This story digs into the company’s activist history and how it’s pairing business success with environmental conservation under CEO Rose Marcario.
New York Times
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• No Nobel. On Friday, we learned that the Nobel Prize in Literature will not be awarded this year, as the Swedish Academy, which awards the honor, grapples with a scandal over its handling of sexual assault and harassment allegations made against the husband of Academy member Katarina Frostenson. If you’re still a bit confused about the whole affair—which, until last week got more attention in Sweden than it has in the U.S.—check out this explainer.
• Just do it, Parker. Nike CEO Mark Parker has apologized to employees for allowing a corporate culture that excluded some staff and failed to take workplace complaints seriously. He’s vowing to make serious changes—including some staffing moves. Among them: Amy Montagne was named VP and GM of global categories and Kellie Leonard was appointed chief of diversity and inclusion.
• Democratizing sexiness. With the internet is dismantling porn’s old guard, this NYT story dives into a fascinating trend that’s reshaping the industry: Performers now have the power to produce and distribute their own material. That’s empowered women—as well as people of color, trans people, queer people, people of size, people of disabilities, and the many people who fit several of these categories—to control the type of porn they’re involved in and who is represented in that work.
New York Times
• First Monday in May. Speaking of sexiness, some of the most beautiful people in the world flocked to New York City over the weekend for tonight’s Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit (a.k.a. the Met Gala). Here’s what “fashion’s night out” will look like, by the numbers.
ON MY RADAR
How two women created a striking new poster that fights sexual harassment in restaurants
Women with breast cancer delay care when faced with high deductibles
New York Times
Patty Jenkins to receive the 2018 Women in Motion award at the Cannes Film Festival
Can you build a nation with 100% gender equality?