Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Melania Trump makes a surprising fashion statement, progress for women directors has stalled, and what the resignation of Intel’s CEO tells us about corporate America and #MeToo. Have a sun-soaked weekend.
• Rules are rules. Yesterday, we learned that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich had resigned for having what is being carefully described as a past “consensual relationship” with an Intel employee, a violation of company policy.
While Krzanich is far from the first chief to lose his job over an office romance, his departure is instructive about the ways in which corporate America is attempting to digest the #MeToo movement.
To begin with, there’s the speed with which the company reacted: According to the NYT, Intel first learned of the relationship “a few days ago.” The chip giant says its investigation into the matter is “ongoing,” but it seems that everyone involved took this seriously and moved fast.
Unlike the many companies that are just now starting to think about instituting a clear “fraternization” policy, Intel’s current rules—which prohibit managers from sexual or romantic relationships with employees who report directly or indirectly to them—have been in place since 2011. Such policies can help turn the potentially grey area of “consensual” relationships into something much more black and white. After all, when it comes to someone who controls your career and livelihood, it’s fair to ask whether there can really be such a thing as consent.
And while some companies might have once been willing to overlook such transgressions—even when the rules were clear—those days are over, Davia Temin, chief executive of reputation management firm Temin & Co., told the WSJ. “There’s a new level of rigor that says if something is on the books, it needs to be upheld and not ignored,” she said, noting that boards have become increasingly vigilant about companies’ reputations when it comes to issues of sexual misconduct.
Norms evolve (indeed, the NYT notes that both Krzanich and his predecessor married women who worked at Intel). Companies have a responsibility to create and enforce polices that reflect those changing values (as Intel did). And even CEOs, as powerful and successful as they may be, must follow the policies—just like everybody else.
As an unnamed Intel employee told the WSJ: Intel goes out of its way “to make sure we understand what the rules are and that we follow them. To have the leader of the company violate these rules is disappointing.”
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• The fashion “Don’t” of the century. Melania Trump visited a Texas detention center yesterday to meet immigrant children that ICE has detained and separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. And as everyone with a pulse and internet connection likely knows, she left for the trip wearing a green jacket with the words “I really don’t care, do you?” scrawled on the back. Was it simply a regrettable fashion faux pas? A distractionary tactic? Freudian slip? Only the first lady knows for sure.
• Bad direction. A new study from the Directors Guild of America finds that women directed only 12% of movies that earned at least $250,000 at the box office, while people of color helmed just 10%. DGA President Thomas Schlamme took the opportunity to blast the studios, producers and agents that decide who gets the directing jobs. “It’s outrageous that we’re once again seeing such a lack of opportunity for women and people of color to direct feature films,” Schlamme said in a statement. “Our new study shows that discriminatory practices are still rampant across every corner of the feature film business. These numbers hit home how the chips are stacked against women and people of color.”
• If you build it... New York City female-empowerment group Women.nyc has launched “She Built NYC,” an initiative to build public monuments that honor women. Through August 1, the organization will be accepting nominations for New York women, events, and groups of women that deserve a statue. Make your nomination here.
• Instagrandmas. I can’t think of a better way to start your Friday than with this NYT Style story on Instagram grandmas, “women in their 70s and 80s, who are taking on matters of aging with an audacity—and riveting style—their mothers might have envied… they are asserting their presence on Instagram, intent, in the process, on subverting shopworn notions of what ‘old’ looks and feels like. They are, to hear some tell it, ‘100 percent slaying.'”
New York Times
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Jennifer Lee has been named chief creative officer at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Northwestern Mutual has promoted Emilia Sherifova to chief technology officer.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• A teachable moment? After a month-long investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and verbal abuse, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz has been cleared by MIT to continue teaching there next year. Several women have accused Díaz of verbal abuse, while writer Zinzi Clemmons says he “forcibly kissed” her.
• Dismissed by DeVos. A ProPublica analysis of data on more than 40,000 civil rights cases found that, under Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the DoE has scuttled more than 1,200 civil rights investigations that were begun under the Obama administration and lasted at least six months. “These cases, which investigated complaints of civil rights violations ranging from discriminatory discipline to sexual violence in school districts and colleges around the country, were closed without any findings of wrongdoing or corrective action, often due to insufficient evidence.”
• Hitting it out of the park. This year’s annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game, where members of the Washington press corps face off against women of Congress to benefit breast cancer nonprofit the Young Survival Coalition, marked a badass moment in the game’s 10-year-history: its first-ever home run, hit by Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman.
• Laugh for a good cause. Comedian Cameron Esposito talks about Rape Jokes, her “very personal stand-up special address[ing] the public reckoning with sexual assault via the Me Too movement,” which fans can stream for free on her website. There, they can donate to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). So far, she has raised over $30,000 for survivors of sexual assault.