Crazy Rich Asians, Facebook Ads, D.C. Mayor Bowser: Broadsheet Aug. 20

August 20, 2018, 8:31 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Fortune profiles companies that are changing the world for the better, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser spars with President Trump, and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ has a crazy good weekend at the box office. Have motivated Monday.


 Crazy Successful Asians. Could it be that Hollywood is finally accepting that America is ready—well, way past ready—for movies that tell the stories of non-white characters?

First, we saw the blockbuster success of movies like Black PantherGirls Trip and Get Out. Now comes Crazy Rich Asians, which dominated the domestic box office over the weekend, bringing in an estimated $25.2 million and buoying its five-day opening to more than $34 million —blowing industry expectations out of the water.

It's the first movie from a major Hollywood studio to feature a predominately Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club, which came out a quarter century ago, and the latest to prove that it's not just white people who buy movie tickets: Roughly 40% of the film's opening audience was Asian or Asian American.

I recommend this Time piece about the film, which includes some interesting insights from lead actress Constance Wu, who it describes as "the most bankable Asian-American movie star in a generation." She shares her frustrations with America's tendency to lump all Asians and Asian Americans together, and notes the insanely high expectations that plague projects like this one. “When you can be mediocre and still not feel like you have to prove something,” she says. “That’s when you know you’ve hit success.”

In this op-ed, author Jenny Han writes about how much it means to her to see actors like Wu in the starring role—and about her own fight to ensure that the star of the film adaptation of her book, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, was Asian-American. (She succeeded; the film is out on Netflix now.)

"Because when you see someone who looks like you, it reveals what is possible. It’s not just maybe I could be an actress. It’s maybe I could be an astronaut, a fighter, a president. A writer. This is why it matters who is visible," writes Han in the NYT. "It matters a lot. And for the girls of 2018, I want more. I want the whole world."


Change the World. Fortune's Change the World list for 2018 is out this morning. No. 4 on the ranking of companies using the profit motive to help the planet and tackle social problems is fashion retailer Inditex, which is training its mostly female workforce to recognize and fight gender discrimination and harassment.  Fortune

 New revenue stream. Fortune's Beth Kowitt has the scoop on PepsiCo's acquisition of countertop carbonated water machine maker SodaStream for $3.2 billion. The deal aligns with outgoing CEO Indra Nooyi's push into healthier products and her drive to be more environmentally-friendly. Fortune

 A deal of her own. The New York Times has a devastating report about Asia Argento. The Italian actress and director was one of Harvey Weinstein's first accusers and became a leading figure of the #MeToo movement. Following her allegations against Weinstein, though, she arranged a deal to pay off her own accuser, Jimmy Bennett, a young actor who says Argento sexually assaulted him when he was 17. Argento has not responded publicly to the report. New York Times

 Ads for all. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has filed a complaint accusing Facebook of allowing advertisers to unlawfully favor certain people by suggesting options based on gender or race. For instance, advertisers can choose to show housing ads only to men, or to "filter out disabled users who show an interest in 'assistance dog' or 'deaf culture,' and discriminate by national origin by not advertising to people interested in, say, 'Latin America' or 'Somalia.'"  Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Marybeth Hays, Walmart EVP of consumables and health and wellness, will reportedly leave the company in January.


 Raining on his parade. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser traded Twitter shots with President Trump late last week after the president blamed "local officials" for the cancellation of a military parade. Her tweet: "Yup, I’m Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad)." The message, which some say was out of character for the "even-keeled" mayor, has made her something of an overnight Twitter celeb. Washington Post

 Travel horror story. This story describes the horrifying experiences of a number of women who say they were detained and put through shocking and invasive body searches by members of Customs and Border Protection. The Center for Public Integrity reports that it has examined at least 11 such cases filed since 2011. "Each raises unsettling questions about authorities’ considerable power to detain people at the nation’s 328 ports of entry, underscoring critics’ concerns about CBP officer accountability as the Trump administration seeks to expand the agency and significantly enhance immigration enforcement." Washington Post

Cure crusader. Karen Petrou, whom the WSJ describes as "an influential adviser to bankers and regulators," is the force behind a new bill that would match medical researchers attempting to cure blindness with investors interested in funding their work. The issue is personal for Petrou, whose eyesight began fading in high school and who is now almost completely blind.  WSJ

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What if a female CEO acted like Elon Musk?  The Atlantic

A retirement community turned away these married women  New York Times

Anita Miller founded a quirky publisher and battled John Cheever’s family  WSJ

California could be the first U.S. state to set quotas for women on boards  Quartz


I am tired a lot. A beautiful thing about Twitter is the ability to participate from the comfort of one’s bed.
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