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James Franco, Steve Jurvetson, Melania Trump: Broadsheet for Jan. 12

January 12, 2018, 1:15 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Another list of “shitty men” makes the Internet rounds, James Franco gets implicated in the #MeToo movement, and the women of Capitol Hill take a page out of Hollywood’s book. Take care of yourselves this weekend!


A tale of two lists. This week, talk of two lists of has been dominating the headlines. The first list is the original "Shitty Media Men" Google document that went viral last October and the whose author, 20-something Moira Donegan, wrote a poignant editorial published in New York Magazine yesterday. It contained about 70 names of alleged harassers and rapists before it was taken down; it was live for less than 24 hours. The second is not so much a list as it is a survey of female academians about their experiences of sexual harassment. It contains more than 2,000 anecdotes—though no names—and has been online for about six weeks. Its author, former anthropology professor Karen Kelsky, tells The Wall Street Journal that she hasn't received any requests to take it down.

It's an interesting dichotomy: On the one hand, you have a simple Google doc, put together by a young woman and shared with her friends. On the other, you have the much more formal “Sexual Harassment In the Academy: A Crowdsourced Survey.” And yet, only the former has (so far) yielded real results. Media companies conducted investigations into employees who appeared on Donegan's spreadsheet and at least four powerful men, including the publishers of The New Republic and Paris Review, left their jobs or were fired. Meanwhile, academia has been far slower in responding to Kelsky's project. A spokeswoman for Berkeley—which was named more than two dozen times—tells WSJ that while the school is “saddened and unsettled” by the allegations, it would need to know the accusers’ identities to determine possible next steps.

Observers' main qualm with the media list is that it names names and makes it impossible for the men included to defend themselves in the court of public opinion. The New Yorker's Masha Gessen writes, "There are men who know that they are on the list, but have no idea who accused them or why. They have been in a kind of Kafkaesque, Koestleresque hell for months, and they have no way of knowing when or if the clouds will clear." And yet what is the alternative? To keep all allegations anonymous so that institutions can be "unsettled" while keeping abusive men in power and free to keep committing more violence?

Neither of these tools is perfect, and the biggest thing they have in common is that they're an illustration of just how sorely we lack reporting mechanisms for abuse and harassment. Until those are put in place, I suspect we'll be seeing many more such lists.


Hill follows Hollywood. As we mentioned yesterday, some female members of Congress are planning to take a cue from #Time's Up and wear black to this month’s State of the Union address. Now it seems that they are also working to bring activists, writers and victims of misconduct to the president's address. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) has invited civil rights activist Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) will bring Danielle McGuire, a historian and author who has written about Recy Taylor, a black woman in Abbeville, Ala. who was raped by six white men in 1944 (Oprah mentioned her story in her now-famous Golden Globes speech). Women of the Congressional Black Caucus plan to wear red pins as a tribute to Taylor, who died in December and whose assailants were never indicted. Washington Post

Five speak out on Franco. Actor James Franco is being accused of sexually-exploitative behavior by at least five women: Four of the women were students at Studio 4, the film school Franco founded, while the fifth says Franco served as a mentor. Among the most egregious accusations against the actor is that he removed the protective guard that covered actresses’ vaginas as he simulated oral sex on them during a nude orgy film scene. Franco’s lawyer, Michael Plonsker, disputes the claims. Fortune

A really boring sex party?  Venture capitalist and former Tesla board member Steve Jurvetson reportedly hosted a "sex party" at his home that requested “glamazon adventurer, safari chic and jungle tribal attire," according to Emily Chang's book Brotopia. However, some who attended the event believe this is a mischaracterization, reports Fortune alum Erin Griffith. Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk said, "That DFJ party was boring and corporate, with zero sex or nudity anywhere." The party was thrown in connection with an annual DFJ conference called the Big Think. Axios

 A tough nut to crack. This Bloomberg story tackles the same question that a New Yorker piece from earlier this week tried to answer: Why hasn't #MeToo hit Wall Street? While it hits on similar points (a culture of protecting abusers and ignoring the abused), it focuses much more on arbitration agreements, those clauses in employment contracts that prevent employees from suing and force them into arbitration—and therefore silence. Bloomberg

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Elaine Welteroth is stepping down from Teen Vogue and has reportedly signed with CAA.


East Wing expands. First Lady Melania Trump announced yesterday that she filled the roles of director of policy, director of operations and communications coordinator—one of the largest expansions of her East Wing staff to-date. The additions include Reagan Thompson, a Facebook alum and former staffer for the National Security Council.  Politico

New info on IVF. A new study is challenging the long-held belief of fertility specialists that freezing and thawing embryos before implanting them through in vitro fertilization offers a better chance of successful pregnancy and birth. For hopeful mothers-to-be, this means that now, one embryo can be implanted at a time—instead of multiple embryos at once, which increases IVF risks and complications. Fortune

 Multi-talented McDormand. Frances McDormand, who won a Best Actress award for her role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is making her debut as a screenwriter; she's working on a screenplay for Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Hollywood

 Blame biology. We take for granted that women outlive men. But why, given the fact that men are traditionally valued more in society (see Wednesday's Broadsheet), is this the case? A new study published on Monday says biology—not sociocultural factors—is the primary culprit in the life expectancy gap. Slate

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