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Al Franken, Valerie Jarrett, Gay Marriage in Australia: Broadsheet for Dec. 7

Good morning, Broadsheet readers. Al Franken has something to say, Valerie Jarrett joins another board, and Australia’s parliament made history this morning. Have a great Thursday.


This morning’s essay is brought to you by Claire Zillman (@clairezillman). 

Reclaiming their airtime. Last week, late night host Stephen Colbert opened his show by introducing himself as “one of the few men still allowed on television.”

His joke, delivered after the firing of Matt Lauer, was funny because it contained a hint of truth; and that’s still the case one week on.

As male stars are kicked off television due to accusations of sexual harassment and sexual harassment, it’s women who have taken their place.

Lauer’s termination was announced by two female hosts, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb. There are rumors that Megyn Kelly is in the running to be Lauer’s permanent successor. Likewise, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell took the reins of CBS This Morning after the network fired anchor Charlie Rose. This week, PBS announced that its stations will air Christiane Amanpour’s CNN International program instead of Rose’s interview show. At the same time, Netflix said its series House of Cards will film a sixth and final seasonwith Robin Wright as the lead character in the wake of allegations against Kevin Spacey. On the radio side of things, NPR reports that Executive Editor Edith Chapin will assume the duties of Chief News Editor David Sweeney, who recently left the company following allegations of sexual harassment filed against him by at least three female journalists.

These women are not necessarily taking over in the best of circumstances; we’d like to see women in these roleswithout all the disturbing accusations of abuse. Nevertheless, there’s an an underlying truth to the recent allegations against men in media; that the men accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault; of belittling and degrading their female colleagues, also wielded enormous influence in shaping the national conversation about politics, business, technology, and culture. (Recall, for instance, Lauer’s repeated interruption of Hillary Clinton at a town hall during the 2016 presidential race.)

So despite the unfortunate backdrop, women’s growing share of the media limelight is a welcome development; if nothing else, it presents a long overdue opportunity for more female voices to enter public discourse.


Al has something to say. Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (D) has scheduled an announcement on his future in the Senate for this morning. Dozens of Democratic lawmakers are calling for him to resign after a sixth woman came forward to say he had made an unwanted sexual advance towards her. Notably, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was the first to publicly call for his resignation. New York Times

Women for Moore. Despite the recent allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore—he’s been accused of making sexual advances towards teenage girls while he was in his thirties—four out of 10 women plan to vote for him in the special election next Tuesday. This Washington Post column digs into why. (Moore denies any wrongdoing.) Washington Post

Can we say bye to the biotech bro? Five people who once worked at OrbiMed Advisors—one of biotech’s largest and most powerful hedge funds—are accusing Sam Isaly, one of the fund’s managing partners, of perpetuating a toxic culture of sexual harassment, saying he “wantonly demeaned and verbally abused female employees.” Isaly denies the allegations. STAT

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Kirstjen M. Nielsen as the next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Ann Marie Buerkle has been nominated by President Trump to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission.


Big news from Down Under. Early this morning, Australia’s Parliament voted by a landslide to legalize same-sex marriage, becoming the 26th country in the world to do so. Couples will be able to wed as early as next month. Interestingly, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott—whose government had promised to let the country decide the issue—abstained from voting. Fortune

Rose goes on the offensiveOutdoor retailer Patagonia, led by CEO Rose Marcario, is suing President Trump after he announced that he would be rolling back protections on the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah. This means that two million acres of protected land will lose federal protection. Read Marcario’s reasoning for taking the president to court in her op-ed for our sister publication. Time

A Val-uable additionValerie Jarrett, the former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, has joined her third corporate board. After becoming a director of asset manager Ariel Investments and ride-hailing app Lyft earlier this year, she has joined ed-tech company 2U, she tells Fortune exclusively. Her main criteria for picking which boards to join? Mission and culture—particularly a focus on diversity. Jarrett is the third woman and fourth person of color on 2U’s board. Fortune

Mess over Marissa’s deal. Yahoo parent Oath and Mozilla are battling it out in court over a deal struck by former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. Back in 2014, Mayer brokered an agreement with Mozilla for Yahoo to be the default search engine on the browser. In mid-November, Mozilla announced it was switching back to Google as its search provider in major markets, a decision the company says has to do with Yahoo’s acquisition. Fortune

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