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T.J. Miller, Stitch Fix, House Sexual Harassment Settlements: The Broadsheet Dec. 20

December 20, 2017, 1:05 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Stitch Fix shares sink, the House discloses more sexual harassment settlements, and we get a disturbing look inside the struggle of female employees at two Chicago Ford plants. Have a productive Wednesday.


 #AllOfUs. This harrowing New York Times' deep dive into decades of sexual harassment and abuse at two Chicago Ford plants remained at the top of the publication's home page all day yesterday—even amid big news about the GOP tax bill.

The reporters on the story, Susan Chira and Catrin Einhorn, talked to more than 100 current and former employees and industry experts and relay dozens of infuriating stories of women who were groped, bullied, propositioned, and pressured into sex in exchange for keeping their jobs. Those who tried to report the behavior or get help were frequently sold out by the managers or union reps tasked with protecting them.

In August, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reached a $10 million settlement with Ford over abuses at the two plants. The company claims the harassment is not systemic, and company officials told the Times that they "take all claims seriously and investigate them thoroughly."

But despite the prominent placement and the importance of the reporting, I can't help but feel that—at least on my social feeds—the story didn't get the attention it deserves. Part of the issue may be sexual harassment fatigue, but I suspect the larger reason is one the story anticipates and addresses:

"In recent months, as women have spoken out about harassment—at media companies and technology start-ups, in the entertainment industry and on Capitol Hill—they have spurred quick action, with accused men toppling from lofty positions, corporations pledging change and lawmakers promising new protections.

But much less attention has been focused on the plight of blue-collar workers, like those on Ford’s factory floors. After the #MeToo movement opened a global floodgate of accounts of mistreatment, a former Chicago worker proposed a new campaign: '#WhatAboutUs.'"

The U.S. is in the midst of reckoning around sexual harassment and how women are treated at work. It would be a massive failure if we allowed lower-income women to be minimized or excluded from that conversation. This is the moment to fight for change for all women—not just the ones who work for buzzy companies or famous bosses.  New York Times


 Not funny. The Daily Beast has the extremely disturbing account of a woman who says she was sexually and physically assaulted by comedian T.J. Miller (including an accusation that he punched her in the face during a sexual encounter) during his college days. (Miller disputes her account.) Comedy Central also announced yesterday that it has canceled Miller's animated series The Gorburger Show after one season—though a rep for the network told THR that the decision pre-dated the assault allegations.

 Dropping a stitch. Stitch Fix, the online styling service led by CEO Katrina Lake, saw shares plummet more than 11% despite beating analyst expectations on its first earnings report as a publicly traded company. Shares appear to be suffering from classic early IPO volatility. Fortune

 Stalking a predator. Reports like the one above prompted Michelle Dean to write this thought-provoking essay, which poses a very timely question: "What makes someone a 'predator'?" New York Times Magazine

 That was swift. Taylor Swift’s new social networking app, The Swift Life, launched over the weekend—and is apparently becoming a place for the pop star's fans to fight about politics.  Fortune

 Marking my calendar. Take a break from this morning's heavier news and treat yourself to this juicy new Ocean's 8 trailer. The only downside: We have to wait until June 8 to watch the whole thing. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Aspect Ventures has promoted Lauren Kolodny to partner.


 Every vote counts. Democrat Shelly Simonds has created a rare tie between the parties in the Virginia House of Delegates—after winning the seat from Republican incumbent David Yancey by a single vote. Washington Post

Sounds like North America... At the start of this decade, women led Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Chile. Now, with Sebastian Pinera’s victory in Chile’s presidential election on Sunday, current President Michelle Bachelet will depart in March, leaving Latin America without a single female head of state. Reuters

 Get your House in order. The House Office of Compliance has disclosed three additional sexual harassment settlements totaling $115,000. We know the settlements are from fiscal 2008 through 2012, but not to whom the settlements were paid or from which offices the complaints originated. This comes a month after a report that the office has paid more than $17 million in workplace settlements—for violations including sexual harassment—since 1997. The Hill

 A real trial. Alka Pradhan is the human rights lawyer representing Ammar al-Baluchi, the Pakistani man accused of running money for the Sept. 11 attacks. She believes she can make a good defense for her client—though "no one can say for sure when, or even if, [his trial] will begin." New York Times Magazine

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Corporate America’s gender gap: Few women in the C-suite  New York Times

Issa Rae is working on a show about the love life of a bisexual black man  Huffington Post

Lady Gaga sets two year Las Vegas residency  The Hollywood Reporter

#MeToo creator Tarana Burke will kick off the countdown to the New Year in Times Square  Time


Stand up. Speak out. Our country needs all of us to raise our collective voices in support of our democratic ideals and institutions.
Former acting attorney general Sally Yates, in an op-ed for USA Today