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Christine Blasey Ford, Darktrace, Mel Watts: Broadsheet September 28

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! CEO Michele Buck gives us some insight into the future of Hershey, India strikes down a sexist law, and we are still recovering from yesterday’s Kavanaugh hearing. Have a great weekend—and see you at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women conference next week.


• Historic hearing. Like many Americans, I spent yesterday glued to the Judge Brett Kavanaugh hearing, and particularly to the words of his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

Her testimony was riveting and stomach-churning. Describing the night 30-some years ago when she says a drunken Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed as his friend watched, she told the senators: “I believed he was going to rape me.” She described him putting a hand over her mouth to stifle her cries for help. “It was hard for me to breathe and I believed that Brett was going to accidentally kill me.” When asked for her strongest memory of the event, she said, “The uproarious laughter between the two and having fun at my expense.” (Her telling struck a chord with survivors everywhere—women called into C-Span to share their own stories of sexual assault.)

Ford’s affect was almost as striking as her words. She was unfailingly calm and polite, even as she was questioned by Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor brought in to act on behalf of senate Republicans, who seemingly did not like the optics of a group of men grilling a woman about her assault. Kavanaugh’s testimony was a stark contrast; he was alternately angry and teary, snapping at and interrupting some of his questioners. Observers on Twitter and elsewhere were quick to note the disparity—and to wonder how Ford would have been perceived if she had dared to show similar emotion. HuffPost reporter Alanna Vagianos‏ tweeted of the contrast: “This is how we’ve been conditioned: Women to be accommodating and eager to please; men to be loud, angry and righteous.”

I am apparently not the only one who found Ford’s testimony compelling and credible. Even a handful of Republicans said as much, including Senator Orrin Hatch, who probably should have rephrased his conclusion that she was “an attractive, good witness.” (He attempted to clarify by saying that he meant that he found her “pleasing.”) But the real question is what the possible GOP swing voters—Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Jeff Flake of Arizona—will do.

For a full account of the hearings, I recommend this rundown from the New York Times.


• Meanwhile on the Hill… There was another hearing on the Hill over sexual harassment on Thursday: Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watts is accused of sexual harassing a senior advisor. Simone Grimes testified to the House Financial Services Committee that she felt “uncomfortable and unsafe” at the agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Bloomberg

• From crimefighter to crypto. Out this morning is a new Fortune profile of Kathryn Haun. In her previous role as a prosecutor, Haun put some of the earliest Bitcoin criminals in jail. Now? Now, she’s a cryptocurrency venture capitalist at Silicon Valley giant Andreessen Horowitz, writes my colleague Robert Hackett.  Fortune

Snack on that. With consumers increasingly focused on eating healthy, Hershey CEO Michele Buck weighed in on the candy maker’s future. “It’s really about capturing incremental snacking occasions,” Buck said—corporate speak for nabbing customers when they’re craving chocolate, I assume. Wall Street Journal

Two down. India has abolished an 158-year-old law that allowed a husband to prosecute a man who had sex with his wife—but forbade a woman from doing the same in reverse. The law, a remnant of British colonialism, is the second of its kind struck down this month. India abolished a statute criminalizing gay sex a few weeks ago. CNN

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Lisa Monaco, chief homeland security and counterterrorism advisor under the Obama Administration, will advise Lyft on trust and safety. Mary Kay has appointed Deborah Gibbins as COO.


Swipe left. The latest development in the Bumble vs. Match throwdown: Bumble, led by Whitney Wolfe Herd, has moved to get Match’s lawsuit thrown out. Bumble again said that it thinks Match’s claims of patent infringement and stealing trade secrets—the secret being the technology behind the dating app swipe—are baseless. Fortune

Cyber cash. Darktrace, the cybersecurity startup led by Nicole Eagan and Poppy Gustafsson, is worth $1.65 billion after raising $50 million more in funding. The U.K. company plans to expand its technology detecting and countering cyber threats. CNBC

Staking claim. Several months ago, five former NFL cheerleaders spoke to the New York Times anonymously about the abysmal treatment and intimidation they faced on the job. Two of them are now going public to push back against attempts to discredit their claims and to make progress on improving conditions for women around the NFL.  New York Times

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


After Ford’s accusation, Holton-Arms alumnae wrestle with their own truths—together  Vanity Fair

How women are making Nashville hum  Politico

Queens of Infamy: The rise of Catherine de’ Medici  Longreads


I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me.
Christine Blasey Ford during her Senate testimony about Brett Kavanaugh