Michael Ferro, Cynthia Nixon, Harvey Weinstein: Broadsheet March 20
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Cynthia Nixon is giving New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo a run for his money, The Weinstein Co. has filed for bankruptcy, and two Fortune MPW superstars break major #MeToo news. Have a terrific Tuesday.
• #ThemToo. Good morning readers—this is Kristen. Yesterday morning, Michael Ferro—chairman of Tronc, which publishes iconic titles such as the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, and the Baltimore Sun—announced his retirement. Hours later, Fortune published a story that includes the accounts of two women who say Ferro made unwanted physical advances toward them, including groping and an unwelcome kiss. My colleague Beth Kowitt and I had reached out to Ferro for comment on these encounters last week, so you can see why the timing of his departure struck us as noteworthy.
Ferro declined to be interviewed and did not address or dispute any of the women's specific allegations. In a statement, his spokesperson said Ferro has "never had a claim filed against him nor a settlement made on his behalf."
In our story, The Muse CEO and co-founder Kathryn Minshew and former Ingersoll Rand executive Hagan Kappler recount their experiences with Ferro in eye-opening detail. Unlike those who face harassment in the workplace, their stories unfold outside the 9-to-5, in the world of late-night dinners and after-work drinks, the place where so much of alliance-building and deal-making really happens. It can be treacherous terrain for women, but to reject it closes us off from many of the true drivers of business: connections, mentorship, capital.
I urge you to read Minshew and Kappler's accounts in full. It's a cliche to call their choice to tell their stories brave, but it's also true. Yet perhaps more importantly, their decision to come forward is powerful.
Reflecting on her encounter with Ferro, Minshew told us that she thinks he did what he did simply because he could. “And I couldn’t really do anything about it,” she says. “There are some acts of misogyny and harassment that are just as much about reminding women what they can and can’t do than they are about sex.”
To her, it felt incredibly cavalier. “Like he didn’t even care so much about me or about the situation,” says Minshew. “He was just going to see if I would have sex with him. But it was my company and the fate of 14 employees or so was hanging in the balance, as well as my career to some extent. And to him, it was just worth a pass.”
In telling their stories, Minshew and Kappler take that power back. If you have a story to tell—be it related to this article or otherwise—my inbox is always open: firstname.lastname@example.org. Fortune
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• No more NDAs. The Weinstein Co., the troubled movie company that failed in the wake of claims against Harvey Weinstein, filed for bankruptcy yesterday. Its assets and employees are going to equity firm Lantern Capital Partners, but the perhaps more interesting piece of news is that the filing nullifies all the non-disclosure agreements that Weinstein made his accusers sign when he settled with them—opening up the possibility that more of his victims will come forward. Fortune
• Bumble gets stung. Tinder's parent company, Match Group, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit alleging that Bumble, the dating app founded by Whitney Wolfe Herd (a former Tinder employee) infringes on two of its competitor's patents. The company responded with an open letter that points out that this lawsuit comes after Match has made repeated attempts to buy Bumble and launched a copycat “lady’s first” feature—and calls it an intimidation tactic intended to bully the company into selling. Fortune
• Another Nixon. Cynthia Nixon, an education activist that's better known for her role as Miranda in Sex and the City, announced that she is running for governor of New York yesterday. If elected, Nixon would become New York's first female and openly gay governor. New York Times
• Hoke a hoax? Defy Ventures, a non-profit founded by Catherine Hoke, says it is dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated people start their own businesses and stay out of prison. Hoke has been lauded by everyone from Sheryl Sandberg to the White House, but last month fired Defy's president after he "blew the whistle on allegations of sexual harassment by Hoke and fraudulent statistics exaggerating the program’s successes." One red flag: In 2009, she was banned from Texas prisons after she was discovered to have had sexual relations with four program graduates. The Daily Beast
• Why the FBI? A lawyer for Steve Wynn, the hotel magnate who recently resigned because of sexual misconduct allegations against him (including assault), recently reported a woman to the FBI after she threatened to go public about Wynn's behavior towards her in 2006. The former Wynn Resorts chairman said it was “preposterous” that he would assault a woman. The FBI said it was "policy to neither confirm nor deny whether we are investigating a particular matter.” Wall Street Journal
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Risa Lavizzo-Mourey has joined Intel's board of directors.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Nell tells all. Comedian Nell Scovell, who co-wrote Lean In with Sheryl Sandberg, has come out with her own book on gender inequity in the workplace—focused on the worlds of TV writing and comedy. (Spoiler alert: She wins in the end, getting selected to write jokes for President Obama.) New York Times
• Aiming at another glass ceiling. This is turning out to be a historic year for Native American women in politics: there are at least four running for Congress, three more for governors’ offices, and another 31 campaigning for seats in state legislatures. If an indigenous woman were to be elected to Congress, she would be the first. Deb Haaland, running in a district that covers most of Albuquerque, N.M., is a strong contender. New York Times
• Not Pollyannaish about this. Pollyanna Chu, once Hong Kong’s richest woman, has lost half her wealth—and that title—in a few short months. The value of her company, Kingston Financial Group, which operates businesses including Macau casinos and margin lending, has tumbled 50% since Hong Kong’s securities regulator in January warned investors that the company’s shares were overly concentrated among a small number of stockholders. Kingston stock is Asia’s worst performer this year. Fortune
• Brag (or log) about it. This WSJ story has ideas for women who struggle with what the writer calls "career confidence." Among the tools some women find helpful: a “confidence log" in which the keeper notes times when she felt most intimidated or most confident, and a "brag book," a journal for saving notes about one’s accomplishments. Wall Street Journal
ON MY RADAR
Inside Nike, women staffers circulated survey about workplace behavior Wall Street Journal
What Hope Hicks learned in Washington New York Magazine
‘SheWorking’ startups trade kegs for nursing rooms Bloomberg
Martina Navratilova furious over John McEnroe’s salary New York Post