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Roy Moore Election, Mario Batali Allegations, Megyn Kelly Show: Broadsheet for Dec. 12

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Mario Batali steps away from the kitchen, Alabama voters will finally decide the fate of Roy Moore, and 11-year-old Zoe Terry is the very definition of #BlackGirlMagic. Have a lovely Tuesday.


Roy Day. Today, voters in Alabama will cast their ballots in what has to be one of the most closely-watched Senate races in recent history. The ahead-of-schedule special election is due to a vacancy that arose from the resignation of Jeff Sessions, who now serves as U.S. attorney general. What should have been a relatively easy victory for the GOP—Alabama hasn’t voted for a Democratic president since 1976—is now “exceptionally difficult to predict,” per The New York Times

The primary reason for the nail-bitingly-close contest is the multitude of allegations against the Republican candidate, Roy Moore. The former Alabama state judge has been accused of making unwanted sexual advances towards—and in some cases, assaulting—teenage girls as young as 14 while he was in his thirties. Nine women have spoken out against Moore, and while the politician has vacillated between acknowledging some sort of relationship with a few of them and none at all, his latest story is that they are all liars. “Let me state once again: I do not know any of these women, did not date any of these women and have not engaged in any sexual misconduct with anyone,” he said at a recent campaign event.

Many see this election as a test of Americans’ willingness to believe victims of harassment and assault. While many a powerful man has been knocked off his perch recently as a result of sexual misconduct, this is the first instance in the #MeToo era in which U.S. voters are the ones to decide his fate. One potentially revealing statistic from my Fortune colleague Grace Donnelly’s analysis of a national Morning Consult poll is that fewer voters find Moore’s accusers credible than Trump’s (42% believe accusations against the Senate hopeful, while 53% believe those against the president).

While it may be tempting to use tonight’s election results as a yardstick for how we as a country view mistreatment of women, remember that this is one election in one (very red) state—and that only about a quarter of voters there are expected to go to the polls. And while powerful men, namely President Donald Trump, have endorsed Moore—“Go get ’em, Roy”—it’s encouraging that the controversy has prompted some female Republicans to speak up just as loudly. On Monday, Nebraska Republican National Committeewoman Joyce Simmons resigned due to the RNC’s financial support of Moore, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, an Alabama native, urged voters to “reject bigotry, sexism and intolerance,” saying: “I encourage you to take a stand for our core principles and for what is right.”


The latest casualties…

  •  Mario Batali has stepped away from his restaurant chain and is leaving his ABC show The Chew after four women came forward to accuse the celebrity chef of making unwanted physical advances (e.g. grabbing their breasts and buttocks). Batali said that “much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses.”
  • Ryan Lizza, a long-time New Yorker journalist, has been fired from the magazine over “improper sexual conduct.” Lizza doesn’t believe he has done anything wrong, however. “I am dismayed that The New Yorker has decided to characterize a respectful relationship with a woman I dated as somehow inappropriate,” he said.
  • Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans and Ike Taylor have been suspended by NFL Network “pending an investigation” into allegations of sexual harassment and assault. Allegations against the three football analysts were made in a lawsuit by a former employee who sued NFL Enterprises, the league’s media arm, for age and sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and a hostile work environment.

• “It hurt.” Three women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct appeared in a live TV interview on Megyn Kelly Today and described what it was like to see their alleged abuser voted into the nation’s highest office. “For us to put ourselves out there to try to show America who this man is and especially how he views women and for them to say ‘Eh, we don’t care,’ it hurt,” said one of the women, Jessica Holvey. Fortune

Why is he off the hook? If you’re looking for yet another example of how differently the public and private sectors are reacting to allegations of sexual misconduct by powerful men, consider this: Texas Rep. Blake Farenholdt (R) paid $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit three years ago and has an open Ethics Committee investigation into his behavior. Yet only a few Republicans have called for his resignation.  New York Times

Word of the year. Merriam-Webster’s word of the year is feminism, which it defines as the “theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activities on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” Searches for the term on the dictionary site increased 70% over 2016. Associated Press


 Consider yourself warned. Beatrice Fihn, director of the anti-nuclear weapons group that won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for helping push a nuclear weapons ban through the UN, said in her Nobel acceptance speech that “our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away.” She didn’t specify whose tantrum, but when asked in a follow-up interview about President Trump’s temperament, said, “I think it’s a very dangerous situation.” Washington Post

#BlackGirlMagic. Meet Zoe Terry, the 11-year-old mastermind behind Zoe’s Dolls. The nonprofit collects dolls of color at public sites in Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida, and gives them to other black and brown girls “so they could feel beautiful and less alone.” So far the program has distributed almost 20,000 dolls to 4,000 girls in the U.S., Haiti, and Zambia.  Bloomberg

The life of Leia. In advance of this week’s premiere of The Last Jedi, The New York Times has compiled this playful multimedia timeline of the life of Princess Leia Organa, “one of the most powerful figures in her galaxy—and one of the most iconic characters in our galaxy.” New York Times

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