Mollie Tibbetts, Stormy Daniels Vogue, Louis C.K.: Broadsheet August 29
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Louis C.K. is staging a comeback, Matt Lauer is promising one, and we examine how one female candidate fought back against online abuse. Happy Wednesday and a warm welcome to Emma Hinchliffe, the newest member of Fortune’s MPW team!
• Shutting down 'slut-shamers.' Last year, as more women considered entering politics, I interviewed Sonoma Mayor Rachel Hundley about her unconventional path to elected office.
Hundley, a lawyer who at the time was running a fried chicken food truck, had noticed that city council incumbents were not seeking reelection. It was, she said, “an opportunity I wouldn’t necessarily see again.”
And so, as she tells it, she “Googled” her way into office, and encouraged other political newcomers to give it a try. “The worst thing that can happen is you lose,” she said.
Now Hundley is back in the news for a less feel-good reason: As she seeks reelection, she says she’s being 'slut-shamed.'
Earlier this month, a since-disabled website titled “Rachel Hundley Exposed” popped up, containing photos taken from Hundley’s social media accounts that showed her in a bra and underwear and working at art and music festival Burning Man. It attacked her tenure as mayor and called her a “cruel and demented person,” a “cancer” to the community.
That’s the kind of abuse cited in The New York Times story I mentioned on Monday that points to harassment as a problem that’s borderline ubiquitous among female candidates, especially those who are members of a minority group.
Data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union spells out just how common such mistreatment is: 40% of women in legislatures around the world in 2016 said they’d been victims of “extremely humiliating or sexually charged images” like the kind Hundley describes.
What's perhaps less common is how Hundley responded. She addressed the website directly in a YouTube video, calling out the “anonymous coward” for trying to intimidate her and framing the slut-shaming as an example of the harassment and double-standards female candidates face.
Since the video went live, Hundley says she’s received positive feedback and gained supporters.
And therein lies what might be the silver lining to what’s an otherwise disturbing trend among female candidates. Research shows that when women publicly reject abuse, they’re rewarded for it.
As University of Virginia Professor Jennifer Lawless told The Washington Post: “[I]t’s important to call out these kinds of examples and make sure female candidates or women in the political arena know they don’t have to suck it up and remain silent.”
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Back so soon? A mere nine months after Louis C.K. admitted to sexual misconduct against women in comedy, he's back on stage. The comedian made a surprise appearance Sunday night at the Comedy Cellar in New York, where he reportedly received a warm welcome. When Louis C.K. apologized last November for masturbating in front of women without their consent, he said, "I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen." A long time = nine months, apparently. New York Times
• You too? Speaking of comebacks, former Today Show host Matt Lauer reportedly told a group of fans at a New York restaurant that, not to worry, he'd be "back on TV." The nine-month mark seems to be the redemption tour time of choice for #MeToo perpetrators. Page Six
• More Ross. Ross Stores, the popular discount retailer led by CEO Barbara Rentler, is planning an aggressive expansion, the company said in its second-quarter earnings. The retailer set a target of 2,400 locations, up from a prior goal of 2,000. The Business Journals
• McSally sails on. Two-term Congresswoman Martha McSally clinched the Republican nomination for an Arizona Senate seat in a primary contest last night, defeating two rivals who were further to the right: former state Senator Kelli Ward and convicted sheriff Joe Arpaio. McSally, a former Air Force fighter pilot, will face Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the general—an election that will be much-watched since the once red state is trending purple. Time
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• On Mollie Tibbetts. The death of Mollie Tibbetts, the University of Iowa student allegedly killed by a 24-year-old man while out running at night, has morphed into a debate about immigration. (Her suspected killer was in the U.S. illegally.) But the tragedy has also struck up a conversation about violence against women. A member of Tibbetts's family wrote on Facebook, according to Vox, that "Mollie was murdered because a man denied her right to say no"—a sentiment other commentators have added to. In the Huffington Post, Emma Gray writes about the unease of moving through the world as a woman. In the Washington Post, Monica Hesse reflects on the perils of being a woman who's just asking to be left alone. In the New York Times, Talya Minsberg writes about running while female. "For women, there is never really a moment where we can be in a public space and not on guard," Gray writes.
• Avoiding the spotlight. A new Harvard Business Review study followed women in a professional development program and found that they opted for "intentional invisibility," meaning they avoided conflict, acted like themselves in the office, and got work done. The women knew the benefits of making themselves more visible, but opted out. Harvard Business Review
• Tu-touche. Serena Williams won her match against Magda Linette 6-4 6-0 in the first round of the U.S. Open on Monday while wearing a black tutu by Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh and Nike. Williams wore the tutu after the French Open instituted a much-protested ban against catsuits like the one Williams wore earlier this year. Jezebel
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