Brett Kavanaugh, Jian Ghomeshi, Mary Meeker: Broadsheet September 17

September 17, 2018, 11:28 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Kleiner Perkins splits up, a former Lehman Brothers exec has learned a lesson, and claims against Brett Kavanaugh take us back to 1991. Go get your Monday.


 Anita Hill all over again? During his heated confirmation hearing earlier this month, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, faced questions about alleged sexual harassment by his one-time boss, now-retired Judge Alex Kozinski, who served for decades on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Now Kavanaugh, who told the Senate Judiciary Committee he had no knowledge of Kozinski's alleged misconduct, is facing his own accusations.

On Sunday night, Christine Blasey Ford, now a professor at Palo Alto University, spoke with The Washington Post about an incident decades ago in which she says a “stumbling drunk” Kavanaugh—a high schooler at the time—sexually assaulted her at a summer house party. WaPo reports:

While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.

Kavanaugh has flatly denied that the assault occurred: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”

In July, Ford detailed her accusations in a letter sent to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, saying she expected to remain anonymous. Feinstein referred the matter to the FBI with Ford's name redacted and it was included in Kavanaugh's background file, which was made available to all senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee—meaning Ford's story eventually leaked.

One reason Ford didn't go public with her claims initially is that she didn't think they'd make a difference in Kavanaugh's confirmation. "Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” she told the Post.

She may ultimately be right, given the GOP's control of the Senate. But with some senators already citing Ford's allegations in calling for a delay of the vote on Kavanaugh that's scheduled for Thursday, the judge's confirmation is now a referendum on Ford's claims: Do lawmakers believe her story and, if so, is it enough to keep them from sending Kavanaugh to the nation's highest court?

As such, this case bears a striking resemblance to Anita Hill's accusations against Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991. Yet despite the historical echoes, it's also a turn of events that—unfortunately—seems to fit all too well into the politics and cultural zeitgeist of today.


Showing support. After Christine Blasey Ford came forward on Sunday, a chorus of voices offered her support. Monica Lewinsky, Kamala Harris, and others commended Ford for her bravery and lamented that she was forced to go public against her wishes.  Fortune

 No go. The New York Review of Books stepped into iffy territory at the end of last week by publishing an essay by Jian Ghomeshi. Ghomeshi, a widely known former Canadian radio broadcaster who was popular with the political left, was arrested on sexual assault charges in 2014 and later accused of sexual misconduct by more than 20 women. Ghomeshi wrote in the essay about how the allegations have affected him, and NYRB editor Ian Buruma defended the decision to publish it in an interview with Slate. Rather than Ghomeshi's essay itself, we recommend this piece about why giving him a new platform is "so dangerous".  The Cut

 Leaning out. Erin Montella—better known as Erin Callan—has stayed out of the limelight since she left her job as CFO of Lehman Brothers three months before the 2008 financial collapse. Montella, who now uses her married name, wrote a memoir in 2016 about the dangers of "leaning in too far" and is now, on the anniversary of Lehman's collapse, featured in a rare profile in the Wall Street Journal Wall Street Journal

Splitsville. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is splitting up, spurred by and resulting in the departure of Mary Meeker. The well-known former Morgan Stanley analyst and KP general partner is taking with her the firm's interest in later-stage and growth-stage investing. Meeker will start a new firm, and Kleiner Perkins will return its focus to backing early-stage startups. Wall Street Journal

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Three women are taking on top roles at Amazon's video game streaming service Twitch: Katrina Jones is the company's first head of diversity and inclusion, Sudarshana Rangachary is the new human resources chief, and Michelle Weaver will be CFO. Jemele Hill confirmed she is leaving ESPN.


I'm With Her-story? The Texas Board of Education voted to remove Hillary Clinton from its history curriculum, meaning students, while not forbidden from learning about Clinton, won't be required to. The changes, part of an effort to streamline student requirements, also removed Hellen Keller. References to "Moses's influence on the writing of the nation's founding documents" and the country's Judeo-Christian values are still in there. Dallas Morning News

Bank on it. Mary Daly is the new head of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Daly will be the third woman among the 12 presidents of the Fed's regional banks. A labor economist, she credits much of her career to her former boss and mentor Janet Yellen. Daly is openly gay and dropped out of high school before later pursuing her career in economics. New York Times

Breastfeeding, but make it fashion. Fashion Month is doing it big for moms this year. After Lily Aldridge walked in a Brandon Maxwell show five months pregnant and model Slick Woods went into labor while walking in Rihanna's Savage x Fenty show, a London show by Marta Jakubowski featured model Valeria Garcia wearing a breast pump.  People

Today's Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe. Share it with a friend. Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


Women deserve a place at the center of China's revolutionary history  Quartz

Kids don't damage women's careers—men do  Medium

Inside Gloria Vanderbilt's Upper East Side home  The Cut


I know that part of owning being funny was an armor.
Maya Rudolph, in a 'New York Times Magazine' profile ahead of her new Amazon series 'Forever.'

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.

Read More

LeadershipBroadsheetDiversity and InclusionCareersVenture Capital