Cecile Richards, Larry Nassar, Presidents Club: Broadsheet for Jan. 25
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Meg Whitman lands a new gig, Cecile Richards is reportedly stepping down, and Larry Nassar’s chickens are coming home to roost.
• Judgment day. Yesterday was a day of reckoning, as Larry Nassar—and many of those those who protected him for decades—are finally beginning to be held accountable for their despicable actions.
After a seven-day hearing, in which more than 150 women shared wrenching stories of being sexually abused by the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, Judge Rosemarie Aquilinas yesterday sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison.
In making her ruling, Judge Aquilinas, who extended the proceedings to allow for the statements of all victims who chose to participate, exclaimed: “I just signed your death warrant.”
Following the sentencing, U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun called on the entire USA Gymnastics board to resign. In an open letter, Blackmun apologized for USOC's failure to protect the athletes and outlined four steps the organization plans to take, including the launch of an independent investigation “to examine how an abuse of this proportion could have gone undetected for so long.” This investigation will include both USAG and the USOC and the results will be made public, said Blackmun.
Last night, Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon resigned amid mounting criticism of the school's handling of Nassar, who remained employed by MSU for years after the first reports of abuse were reported.
Despite being failed by so many who were tasked with protecting them, it was ultimately the victims—and their incredible strength and bravery—brought about this moment of reckoning. Read their words here.
It's hard to have any reaction to this abomination beyond blind rage. Yet I find some succor in this New Yorker piece about Aly Raisman, whose testimony not only condemned Nassar, but made it painfully clear that the people and organizations who enabled him are culpable for his acts and will be held responsible.
In it, Eren Orbey writes: "Known fondly, by her teammates and the Gymternet, as Grandma Aly, the twenty-three-year-old was the eldest member of Rio’s self-proclaimed Final Five, in 2016, and London’s Fierce Five, four years before, when she guided the American women to clinch their first team gold since the Magnificent Seven of the Atlanta Games, in 1996. Along the way, she has offered invaluable mentorship to younger athletes, who have delivered her handwritten notes of adoration and praised her positivity in the press. 'She’s sort of the one who’s always looking out for everybody,' Gabby Douglas, Raisman’s longtime teammate, said in 2016."
Now, in yet another show of strength and resilience, Raisman has reportedly set her sights on the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games. I am cheering her on now, and can't wait to do so again in 2020.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Good call. In the wake of the FT's mind-blowing report about the sexual harassment and generally repulsive goings-on at an annual all-male charity dinner organized by the Presidents Club, the group has announced that it will close. David Meller, who was the joint head of the Presidents Club, has also resigned from his role as a non-executive board member at the U.K.'s Department for Education as a result of the scandal. Financial Times
• End of an era. Buzzfeed is reporting that Cecile Richards is planning to step down as president of Planned Parenthood, a role she's held since 2006. The women's health and reproductive rights organization did not confirm the news, saying only that, “Cecile plans to discuss 2018 and the next steps for Planned Parenthood’s future at the upcoming board meeting,” which is scheduled for next week. Buzzfeed
• Going Backstage. In a column that originally ran in her must-read newsletter (sign up for Term Sheet here), my colleague Polina Marinova spoke to Arlan Hamilton, founder of Backstage Capital. Hamilton describes the investment thesis of her firm, which has attracted LPs such as Susan Kimberlin, Marc Andreessen, and Ellen Pao, as follows: "We invest in founders who are women, people of color, and/or LGBT. We felt like a lot of these people and companies were being overlooked, undervalued, and underestimated. With a little bit of leveling the playing field, we believe that these people are equipped to handle an erratic market and the various ups and downs in the startup world." Fortune
• Back to startup life. Meg Whitman, departing CEO of HPE (and No. 7 on Fortune's MPW list) has been appointed CEO of Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new mobile media startup NewTV. The company is part of Katzenberg’s WndrCo holding company, which was created in 2017 to invest in and develop startups that are focused on digital media. Whitman starts her new gig on March 1. Fortune
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: WeWork has promoted Jennifer Skyler to the company's first chief communications officer.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Hurt feelings. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), who is under fire for using taxpayer money to settle a sexual misconduct complaint from a former aide, says the woman “specifically invited” his intimate communications and that the fact that she ended up filing a complaint against him "really hurt." New York Times
• Talk's cheap in Tinseltown. Even with sexual harassment news dominating the Hollywood conversation, Amanda Hess asks whether the industry is truly capable of self-reflection and change. "Whatever talks may (or may not) be happening inside agencies or on film sets, the message that comes across is this: The industry has skirted a conversation about its culture of harassment in favor of one about what an amazing job it is doing combatting that harassment," she writes. New York Times
• Catching up with Christiane. CNN's Christiane Amanpour talks to NPR's Audie Cornish about taking over Charlie Rose's time slot in the wake of his firing, working for a target of President Trump's ire, and reporting her new doc, Sex and Love Around the World. New York Times Magazine
• Googling the gap. In a bid to practice pay transparency—and help close gender and race-based earnings gaps—TV writers and assistants are circulating a Google doc where they are encouraged to anonymously share information about themselves and their wages. Click here to see the doc itself. Hollywood Reporter
ON MY RADAR
#MeToo, workplace equality and the gender gap iTunes
I thought I was one of the good guys. Then I read the Aziz Ansari story. Vox
When #MeToo becomes Catch-22 WSJ
Meryl Streep is joining Big Little Lies season 2 Elle