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Megyn Kelly vs. Jane Fonda and Debra Messing, All-Male Tax Reform

Today - Season 66Today - Season 66
Megyn Kelly on Wednesday, September 27, 2017NBC NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! A quick editor’s note: You may have noticed Valentina Zarya’s byline (and face!) at the top of some editions of this newsletter over the past week or so. There’s a good reason for that—Val, who has been ably filling in for me on a regular basis over the past two years, is officially joining me as co-editor of The Broadsheet. I hope you’ll welcome her aboard—and continue sending both of us all your juiciest tips. On to the news: Elizabeth Warren wants to give consumers more say over their data, Megyn Kelly’s talk show is off to a bumpy start, and a techie-turned-activist shares her wrenching story of domestic abuse. Have a peaceful Thursday.

EVERYONE’S TALKING

• An account of abuse. Last week, former Apple engineer Neha Rastogi publicly opened up about her decade-long abusive marriage to her ex-husband, well-known entrepreneur Abhishek Gattani, and her subsequent ordeal with the judicial system. (In June, a Bay Area judge sentenced Gattani—whose attorney says he denies all allegations—to just 30 days in jail.) After sharing her story in front of about 300 Bay Area techies, politicians, and other luminaries, Rastogi received a standing ovation. Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram reports:

“Abishek Gattani, my abuser, and I were married for a little over a decade,” Rastogi told the crowd. “We had successful careers. A nice home. And above all a very spirited, loving daughter. From the outside, we were not just living the American dream, we were living the Silicon Valley ‘golden dream.’”

Things unraveled quickly. The marriage had been an arranged one, so Rastogi really got to know her husband only after getting married. “In the entire 10-year marriage, my husband beat me, humiliated me, degraded me,” she told the audience. “I was no longer Neha. I was a bitch, a whore, a slut and worse.”

The alleged abuse didn’t stop when Rastogi became pregnant with the couple’s daughter. She made multiple trips to the emergency room, and says her husband beat her even as late as eight months into the pregnancy. “My abuser had brainwashed me into believing that I deserved every bit of the abuse and the terror I went through,” said Rastogi. 

The techie-turned-activist left the marriage after she “had to face reality”—she says her daughter, now four years old, became scared of her father. But while the marriage ended, another ordeal was just beginning: Despite the duration and severity of the alleged abuse, a judge approved a plea deal for Gattani: 30 days in jail, with credits for good behavior and time already served, plus two and a half months on trash pick-up duty and three years of probation.

Rastogi, who has shifted her identity from a survivor to an advocate for the cause, wants her story to be a wake-up call to everyone in Silicon Valley—and other communities.

“We live in your neighborhood, we are your coworkers,” she said. “And we are sitting beside you here tonight.” Fortune

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

• Warren’s freeze. In this Fortune op-ed, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) weighs in on the Equifax hack and the company’s handling of the breach, writing, “People are outraged. They should be.” The incident inspired the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation Act, which would allow consumers to freeze and unfreeze their credit report for free, effectively allowing them to control when their data is shared by a credit reporting agency. Fortune

• Deja vu. Stop me if you’ve heard this story before: A reporter tweeted a photo of the group of lawmakers announcing the GOP tax reform proposal, which included—you guessed it—no women. While Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) later joined the group, she was not among the all-male “Big Six” group of legislators who reportedly crafted the bill.  Fortune

In other words: Insufficient. Speaking at an NYT event in New York, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called Silicon Valley’s progress toward gender equality “good, but not sufficient.” Nadella should know; he took some well-deserved flak in 2014 for suggesting that women should not ask for raises (he quickly apologized). New York Times

• The champs. This FT list ranks executives it deems “champions of women in business.” At No. 1 on the women’s list: Melanie Richards, deputy chair of KPMG, U.K. The top spot on the men’s list is held by Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone. Financial Times

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Katy Latimer has been named VP, culinary innovation at Dunkin’ Brands Group. Dawn Bridges has been named EVP of Communications for Fusion Media Group. A number of leadership changes at Northrop Grumman (all take effect Jan. 1st, 2018): Kathy Warden has been elected president and COO, Shawn Purvis to be president of the Enterprise Services Business, Lesley A. Kalan elected corporate VP, Government Relations.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

• Using her voice. Michelle Obama told the audience at a Boston conference that, “Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice.” (The remark echoed something Clinton herself said last week.) Yet Obama also stated that she and her husband continue to support President Donald Trump in that they want him to do good for the country.  Fortune

• First week fumbles. Megyn Kelly’s new talk show, Megyn Kelly Today, which launched this week, has already hit a few bumps. In an Instagram post, Will & Grace star Debra Messing said she regretted going on the show (she appeared Monday) after Kelly made some awkward remarks to a gay fan of the sitcom. Then, on Wednesday, Kelly asked Jane Fonda about reports that she had had plastic surgery, to which the actress responded, “We really want to talk about that now?”

• All in the family. Fidelity CEO Abby Johnson (No. 4 on this year’s MPW list) gives a rare interview, discussing taking over the family business and why she doesn’t want to take the company public. Bloomberg

• Another Russia probe. The SEC is investigating an allegation by former PepsiCo general counsel Maura Smith that the company fired her in retaliation for the way she handled an internal probe into the business practices of Wimm-Bill-Dann, a Russian dairy product and juice producer that PepsiCo acquired in 2011. WSJ

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ON MY RADAR

Jared Kushner is registered to vote as a woman Fortune

People think this woman holding a child while coaching her team is a total queen  Buzzfeed

Bruna Papandrea options Tina Brown’s Vanity Fair Diaries for limited TV series  Deadline

Melinda Gates: We’re sending our daughters into a workplace designed for our dads  LinkedIn

QUOTE

I was proud that I did not cry in front of her, but on the way back, the secret service was looking straight ahead pretending they weren’t hearing me as I sniffled and blew my nose. It was rough.
President Barack Obama, on dropping daughter Malia off for her first day at Harvard University