Serena Williams, Les Moonves, Olivia Munn: Broadsheet September 10
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Les Moonves is out at CBS, Janet Yellen argues in favor of the Baker-Schultz plan to fight climate change in Fortune, and the U.S. Open women’s final ends in tears (not the happy kind). Embrace your Monday.
• Game, set, sexism. Part of the reason we enjoy sports, I think, is the distraction from the messiness of real life. On the court or the field, things seem simpler: the rules are clear, the points are tallied, someone wins and someone loses.
Of course, that’s an illusion. Sports are played—and run, and officiated—by people, and those people are as human and complicated as the rest of us. So it’s little wonder that reality has been increasingly—and importantly—intruding on our sports fantasy of late (think NFL players taking a knee and NBA players spurning the president) and did so yet again this Saturday at the U.S. Open women’s tennis final.
You probably know the basics by now—Naomi Osaka, who dominated throughout the match, became the first Japanese person ever to win a U.S. Open title. Yet it’s impossible to discuss the contest without talking about the controversial calls made against her opponent, Serena Williams.
Here’s a quick recap of what went down on the court: First, chair umpire Carlos Ramos gave Williams a warning for receiving coaching from the stands. (She disputed the call, saying, “I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose.”) Soon after, she smashed her racket in frustration—prompting Ramos to award a penalty point to Osaka. Williams objected, saying the umpire stole the point from her since she hadn’t deserved the first warning, and calling him a “thief.” Ramos then penalized her a full game, putting Osaka one game away from the U.S. Open title—which she quickly won.
On the court and in a press conference after the match, Williams, who was ultimately fined $17,000 for the three code violations, accused Ramos of sexism, saying male players have called officials much worse without being penalized (a charge that, at least in some cases, holds up).
So much for the simplicity of sports and our dream of escaping real-world problems like sexism and racism. Writing in the Washington Post, Sally Jenkins weighs in on Ramos’s male fragility and what she deems his “abuse of authority.” The umpire “took what began as a minor infraction and turned it into one of the nastiest and most emotional controversies in the history of tennis, all because he couldn’t take a woman speaking sharply to him,” she writes.
For The Cut, Rebecca Traister writes that “Ramos’s censure of Williams on Saturday night cannot be disentangled from her gender and race….Because in making the coaching call, in the midst of a match she was playing against a newcomer who looked likely to beat her fair and square, the umpire insinuated that Serena was herself not playing fair and square. That made her livid. And one thing black women are never allowed to be without consequence is livid.”
And then there’s tennis icon Billie Jean King, who tweeted: "When a woman is emotional, she’s 'hysterical' and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s 'outspoken' & and there are no repercussions. Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.”
As just a casual tennis fan, I don’t know enough about the sport to comment on its rules or their enforcement. But I do know that I won’t ever forget the deeply sad scene that played out on the winner’s podium Saturday night. Both women were in tears as Williams urged the crowd to stop booing the officials and to focus on Osaka’s well-earned accomplishment. It was heartbreaking to watch that graceful display of sportsmanship—and even more so to see the look on the face of the 20-year-old victor as she apologized to the crowd for a win that she richly deserved.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• No more Moonves. Les Moonves is resigning as CEO and chairman of CBS following fresh allegations of sexual assault and harassment that surfaced in a new Ronan Farrow piece. Among the new accusations: that Moonves forced the performance of oral sex, exposed himself without consent, and was physically violent, all while intimidating his alleged victims and retaliating against the careers of those who refused to capitulate. Moonves acknowledged that three of the six alleged encounters occurred but claims they were consensual. Moonves's exit package—which could be as big as $100 million—will be determined after an investigation into his alleged misconduct. He and CBS have agreed to donate $20 million to organizations that support the #MeToo movement, a sum that will be deducted from Moonves's final severance. His ouster is part of a larger settlement that ends CBS's ongoing legal dispute with its controlling shareholder and revamps CBS's board with six new directors, including three women: Candace Beinecke of law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Barbara Byrne of Barclays, and Susan Schuman of SYPartners. Wall Street Journal
• Yellen's take. In an op-ed for Fortune, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and Climate Leadership Council CEO Ted Halstead argue in favor of the Baker-Schultz plan, an initiative to fight climate change co-authored by two former Republican secretaries of state, James Baker and George Schultz. The plan, Yellen and Halstead explain, would apply a gradually rising fee to all carbon emissions and return that revenue to American taxpayers. Fortune
• Emmy firsts. For the first time, all four Emmy awards for guest acting roles went to black actors at this year's Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Tiffany Haddish, Samira Wiley, Ron Cephas Jones, and Katt Williams took home awards Saturday, a week before the televised Emmys ceremony Sept. 17. Haddish won for Saturday Night Live and Wiley won for The Handmaid's Tale. Fortune
• Catching a Predator. Olivia Munn is on her own after taking a stand against casting a sex offender in her new movie The Predator. Munn lobbied to get the actor, Steven Wilder Striegel, cut from the movie after discovering he served jail time for an online relationship with a 14-year-old girl. Wilder Striegel was a friend of director Shane Black, who knew of his history when he cast him. Wilder Striegel's small part was cut from the film after the studio got involved, but Munn's male castmates—who she says haven't reached out to her and have, in some cases, avoided giving interviews alongside her—gave Black a standing ovation at the film's premiere. Vanity Fair
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Behind the music. Dyana Williams is the woman behind Fetty, Rihanna, T.I., and decades' worth of top artists throughout hip-hop and other genres. Part media coach, part mentor, Williams prepares artists for the public eye and helps them figure out how to present themselves to the world. New York Times
• AI-nnual mammogram. Healthcare professionals are integrating new technology into how they screen for breast cancer. With artificial intelligence, some startups have been able to cut down on false positives and negatives in mammogram readings. Quartz
• Paying tribute. New York Fashion Week is in full swing, and Kate Spade held its first show since the death of its founder in June. Nicola Glass is the brand's new creative director, and she paid tribute to Spade with a plaque on each show attendee's seat and a new Kate Spade label. Refinery29
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