Anita Hill, Facebook Discrimination, Equity Gap: Broadsheet September 19

September 19, 2018, 11:43 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Facebook allegedly shows some job postings only to men, the equity gap at startups is even worse than the wage gap, and Anita Hill gives Congress some expert advice. Have a great Wednesday.


 Anita's advice. Christine Blasey Ford, the professor accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault decades ago, has put in doubt her appearance at an extraordinary hearing on Monday at which the Senate Judiciary Committee was expected to hear from Ford and Kavanaugh about the alleged incident.

Ford is insisting that the FBI investigate her claims before she goes "on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident." Republicans are indicating that they'll go ahead with the hearing without her or deem it unnecessary if she's a no-show.

There is one person, of course, who knows all too well the unique position Ford now finds herself in.

Anita Hill, who testified about her sexual harassment claims against Justice Clarence Thomas, advised Congress on how it should handle the Ford developments in a New York Times op-ed yesterday.

"There is no way to redo 1991, but there are ways to do better," she said, suggesting rules the committee should follow so the shortcomings of Hill's own questioning—which was explicit and personal in nature—don't repeat themselves.

  • "Refrain from pitting the public interest in confronting sexual harassment against the need for a fair confirmation hearing." The two, she says, "are entirely compatible."
  • "Select a neutral investigative body with experience in sexual misconduct cases that will investigate the incident in question and present its findings to the committee." Doing so will lead to "more reliable" outcomes that are less likely to be perceived as partisan.
  • "Do not rush these hearings." Doing so would signal that sexual assault claims are unimportant and risk overlooking necessary facts.
  • "Finally, refer to Christine Blasey Ford by her name." She is not simply "Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser," Hill writes. "She deserves the respect of being addressed and treated as a whole person."

Interestingly enough, Joe Biden, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee when Hill testified who's been criticized for mishandling the hearing, also weighed in on the historical echoes of the Kavanaugh case.

"[F]or a woman to come forward in the glaring light of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time,” he said, adding, "but nobody fails to understand that this is like jumping into a cauldron."

If the Monday hearing happens, Ford's claims and character will be on trial whether or not she's physically there. Decades after Hill was unjustly scorched, we'll see if Congress can responsibly temper the heat.


Women need not apply. Facebook’s platform allows companies to post job ads that are only shown to male users, the ACLU claimed in a lawsuit filed yesterday. The suit, which names 10 other companies, says that Facebook violated the Civil Rights Act by preventing women and Facebook users who don't identify their gender from seeing certain job postings. The allegations are similar to ones Facebook has faced from HUD over its platform allowing advertisers to limit by race which users see ads for open housing. Fortune

Big Mac-stake. The strike against sexual harassment at McDonald's took place at restaurant locations in 10 cities Tuesday. The strike's organizers drew attention to the fact that McDonald's is being advised on its sexual harassment policy by the law firm Seyfarth Shaw, which is defending the Weinstein Company. Bloomberg

Less Talk. Julie Chen will not return to The Talk on CBS. Chen hasn't appeared on the daytime talk show since her husband, Les Moonves, resigned as CEO of CBS following reports of sexual assault and harassment. Chen has defended him, including with a new Big Brother sign-off, in which identifies herself as Julie Chen Moonves.  Wall Street Journal

 More than the wage gap. You don't get the full picture about employee compensation at startups unless you include equity packages—and women hold an average 47 cents in equity to men's dollar. In total, men hold 91% of startup equity. One reason why: Early employees at startups are usually men, and they're awarded much more equity than later employees. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Carey Halio was promoted to CEO of Goldman Sachs Bank USA. Sun Choe was promoted to chief product officer at Lululemon. Christine Leahy will be the next CEO of CDW. VP of brand creative Jackie Jantos is leaving Spotify. Micky Onvural is the new CEO at Walmart's men's clothing brand Bonobos.


Spotlight on Sanders. The New Yorker has one of the first big profiles of Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Her childhood with dad Mike Huckabee, her background in Republican and conservative Christian politics, and her entry into the Trump White House are all covered. The New Yorker

Record smasher. Champion cyclist Denise Mueller-Korenek demolished the word record for motor-paced bicycle land speed. She rode a bicycle on Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats at 184 miles an hour in a feat that left 1995's 167 miles-per-hour record in the dust. The daredevil stunt, pulled off by the 45-year-old CEO of a home security company, started with a driver pulling Mueller-Korenek on her bicycle before she rode the final three miles at top speed solo.  Wall Street Journal

Next up. Power lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan is known for her case against Uber's gig economy classification of drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. This week she filed another high-profile lawsuit, this time a class-action case against IBM alleging age discrimination. Three former IBM employees say they were fired because of their age as IBM tried to build a younger workforce.  Bloomberg

After #MeToo. A controversy at Yale is shedding light on what happens years after a person in power is accused of sexual harassment. Five years ago, a school committee found Yale Medical School researcher and cardiologist Michael Simons guilty of sexually harassing a junior researcher who left Yale. Simons was honored with an endowed chair position over the summer, dredging up his history and putting the university's judgment in question. Washington Post

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


Campaigns are like marathons. It's better to run one with a friend  Glamour

How the leader of Black Lives Matter defines 'power'  Quartz

Why bouncy, hyper-feminine script is the font of choice for bridesmaid gifts and novelty wine glasses  Vox


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