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The World’s Most Powerful Women: March 2

Oprah Winfrey made a splash yesterday in a segment on David Rubenstein’s Bloomberg show when she indicated that Donald Trump’s presidency—and his lack of governing experience—had made her reconsider her own potential bid for the White House. When asked whether she’d ever thought about running for president, the talk show icon said: “I never considered the question, even a possibility. I thought oh, gee, I don’t have the experience, I don’t know enough. Now I’m thinking, ‘Oh. Oh!'”

That’s as good a reason as any to examine Oprah’s public political past. It’s surprisingly brief and is summarized quite nicely in an episode of the NPR podcast Making Oprah that launched last fall. For the first half of her talk show’s 25-year run that ended in 2011, Winfrey avoided interviewing politicians. It wasn’t until 2000 that she tip-toed into presidential politics, featuring both candidates—Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush—on her show. Bush’s appearance, during which he planted a big kiss on Winfrey’s cheek, is credited with giving the future president a late boost in the polls.

But even then, Winfrey remained agnostic. She finally revealed her political leaning in 2004 after hearing then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. She became an early evangelist of his—”I remember feeling this man will be president,” she recalls. But her public endorsement prompted some backlash among viewers. “I went, ‘Oh yeah, that’s right, up until this point, I’ve never said if I was a Republican or Democrat,'” she says.

Winfrey didn’t stump for a candidate in last year’s presidential race. In explaining her relative silence in August, she said, “I haven’t felt that my voice would actually make a difference.”

Despite her comments to Rubenstein, Winfrey fans shouldn’t get too excited about her presidential prospects. Later in the interview when Rubenstein referenced her considering a run, Winfrey demurred, “No, that won’t be happening.” Though it should be noted that when Trump appeared on Winfrey’s show in 1988, and she asked him whether he’d ever run for president, he gave a similar answer: “Probably not. I don’t really think I have the inclination to do it.”

@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Censoring CharlizeThe Iranian Labor News Agency covered the Oscars moment when actresses Charlize Theron and Shirley MacLaine awarded Best Foreign Language Film to Iranian film director Asghar Farhadi, who skipped the ceremony for political reasons. As it showed the footage, the network thought it wise to censor Theron’s gown, covering her chest and arms with a crude black smudge. It did the same to Anousheh Ansari, the Iranian-American astronaut and engineer who accepted Farhadi’s honor, which was rather ironic since the statement Asari read aloud focused primarily on the rights of the individual.Refinery29

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Not going May’s way
U.K. PM Theresa May suffered a defeat yesterday when the House of Lords voted to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the U.K. after Brexit. Home Secretary Amber Rudd had issued reassurance that the reciprocal rights of EU citizens in the U.K.—and vice versa—would be a priority in Brexit negotiations, but the Lords did not want the government to use “EU citizens in the U.K. as bargaining chips,” said Richard Newby, leader of the Liberal Democrats. The bill will now return to the House of Commons, potentially jeopardizing May’s goal of starting Brexit negotiations later this month. 
Financial Times

Netting Natalie
Natalie Massenet, the founder of e-commerce site Net-a-Porter, is joining the board of rival site Farfetch just 18 months after walking away from the company she founded. “I am a fashion person, but I am obsessed with technology and what will come next,” Massenet says. Speculation about Massenet’s future had been swirling since her acrimonious departure from Net-a-Porter in September 2015 following its announced merger with Yoox. She had been considered a contender for the editor-in-chief opening at British Vogue.
New York Times

THE AMERICAS

Paying for it
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will forego a 2016 target bonus of $2 million and at least $12 million in equity awards because under her leadership senior execs at the company knew in 2014 about a state-sponsored hack but failed to take appropriate action. She wants the bonus to be distributed to employees. An independent probe found that senior executives knew about the breach but didn’t “properly comprehend or investigate” it. The review came after Yahoo announced the hack affecting some 500 million users in September 2016, two months after it’d agreed to sell its core business to Verizon. 
Financial Times
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Off the hook
Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway won’t face disciplinary action for promoting Ivanka Trump’s clothing line during a TV appearance, according to the White House. Conway raised ethical red flags when she said, “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff!” in a cable news appearance after several department stores dropped the first daughter’s line. “Upon completion of our inquiry, we concluded that Ms. Conway acted inadvertently and is highly unlikely to do so again,” said Stefan Passantino, a White House deputy counsel for compliance and ethics.
Mic
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Tuning out
The Hollywood Reporter‘s latest cover story is about CNN’s war for TV dominance. CNN producer Josiah Daniel Ryan was so happy with the cover image, he shared it on his Twitter account. “The future of media looks like this,” he wrote. Problem is, the photo features exactly zero women and five male higher-ups at CNN. The Internet, of course, was none too pleased.
Buzzfeed

ASIA-PACIFIC

Appealing to the masses
At Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women International Summit in Hong Kong on Tuesday, Angela Dong, Nike CFO of Greater China, described the company’s efforts to “[reach] over a billion people” as the country’s economy becomes more service-oriented and its consumer landscape more “affluent and organized.” She says: “we organize ourselves by the sports.” It’s one of Nike’s most unique strategies and is known internally as the company’s “category offense,” says Dong. Of all the categories so far, lifestyle is the biggest.
Fortune
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Ip’s out
Regina Ip, one of two women competing to be Hong Kong’s next chief executive, has withdrawn from the race, claiming she’s been “squeezed out” of a “restrictive” electoral system. (Just 1,200 electors are tasked with selecting the city’s next leader.) Ip stopped short of saying she’d been the victim of Beijing’s favoritism. The central government has reportedly been actively canvassing for rival Carrie Lam. Ip didn’t rule out another run in 2022, but dismissed the idea of joining a future cabinet: “I enjoy being a popularly elected lawmaker more.”
South China Morning Post

 

IN BRIEF

Lady Gaga will replace Beyonce as Coachella’s headliner 
Billboard

‘Big Bang Theory’ lead actors are taking pay cuts so female co-stars can get raises
Huffington Post

People are criticizing Zara for using thin models in a “love your curves” ad
Buzzfeed

Women demand a voice in the real world of AI design
Financial Times

Billboard about gender roles sparks debate, protest in North Carolina
NPR

Celebrating the women—and other pioneers—of science fiction
Washington Post

 

PARTING WORDS

“We’re all human, and we all just want a chance. A chance at life, a chance at an education, a chance at a future, really.”
--Singer Rihanna as she accepted Harvard University's award for Humanitarian of the Year.