Whitney Wolfe Herd, Connie Chung, Priyanka Chopra: Broadsheet October 4
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Connie Chung writes an open letter to Christine Blasey Ford, disappeared movie star Fan Bingbing surfaces, and we wrap up the Most Powerful Women Summit with Bumble and Match. Have a fabulous Thursday.
• When women compete. The MPW Summit went out with a bang yesterday, with a last-day lineup that included Walmart International’s Judith McKenna; COOs (and former COOs) from Instagram, Airbnb, and Etsy; Drybar’s Alli Webb; U.S. Army Surgeon General Lt. General Nadja West; and, yes, one of our honorary Most Powerful Men, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
We also had the notable experience of hosting two CEOs whose companies are in the midst of a pair of lawsuits: Whitney Wolfe Herd of Bumble, and Mandy Ginsberg of Match. (A very abbreviated recap: Match sued Bumble over patent infringement. Bumble countersued Match, saying the two companies had been in acquisition talks, and that the Match suit was actually an attempt to bully Bumble into selling—or to stop other companies from investing in or acquiring them.)
While the disagreement between the dating companies seems intractable, it was refreshing to hear the way the two chiefs showed their respect for one another on stage. Here’s Ginsberg: “I’ve really admired Whitney and what she’s built. I’ve had a great personal relationship with her even through all this.” Wolfe Herd agreed that the two have a strong rapport, adding: “I think that speaks to women in business and it speaks to the next generation of how we should treat each other. You can be in competition, you can be at odds as business leaders, but don’t destroy one another as women under any circumstance.”
The Bumble CEO didn’t just come to the MPW Summit to talk legal issues, though. She was also on stage to break news: Specifically, that the company has taken on global superstar Priyanka Chopra as an investor and advisor—and that, with her help, it plans to enter the Indian market this year.
Wolfe Herd says the company started on the project about nine months ago, building a team of about 20 people working on launching in India and getting its executives familiar with the market. Bumble higher-ups studied the launch process for American tech companies in South Asia as well as Indian norms around relationships and connections. She says the company is in the midst of developing new features to address safety concerns for Indian women. For instance, it will allow women to set their profiles to only show their first initial—no first or last name.
Still, India has proven itself to be a challenging market for dating apps. Rival Tinder, where Wolfe Herd was a co-founder, is reportedly struggling to convince enough women to join and is now testing a new feature in India that will allow women to have more control over making the first move—very much like Bumble does. We’ll have to wait and see if Wolfe Herd and Chopra can make a lasting match with the 1.3 billion-person nation.
MORE FROM THE MPW SUMMIT
• Space force. Leanne Caret, CEO of Boeing's defense, space, and security division, told the Summit audience that she's dedicated to defending the United States in space—which includes taking President Trump's "Space Force" quite seriously. Fortune
• All it takes. Drybar's Alli Webb is an inspiration to anyone worried they don't have the credentials to pursue their wild idea. “There was no business plan. I didn’t go to college. I don’t have any fancy degrees. I just had a good idea," Webb says. Fortune
• Sweating the small stuff. Walmart International CEO Judith McKenna is tasked with the big (the very big—the retailer's non-U.S. business brings in $118 billion in revenue), but to get things done she thinks small. Fortune
• Political circus. According to NBC host Megyn Kelly, the hearings over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the sexual assault allegations against him are a "farce" for both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. “It’s going to be utterly unsatisfactory to almost all people,” Kelly told Summit attendees Fortune
• Republic of E-stonia. President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid leads a digital-first government, with an online system called, fittingly, E-stonia. Fortune
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Health care executive Cindy Kent joins Best Buy's board of directors.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Connie too. In an open letter to Christine Blasey Ford, veteran broadcast journalist Connie Chung shared her experience of sexual assault. The assault was 50 years ago, Chung says, and it's stayed with her forever. Washington Post
• Fan's back? Four months after she disappeared from public view amid a tax authorities' crackdown on the Chinese film industry, Chinese movie star Fan Bingbing made a statement—and it's not a happy one. "I failed my country which nurtured me; I failed the society which trusted me; I failed the fans who liked me. Without the Party and the state’s good policies, without the love from the people, there would have been no Fan Bingbing," she wrote on Weibo. China's government says Fan owes as much as $130 million. Vulture
• En avant. The New York City Ballet is at the center of the #MeToo movement in the arts. This deep dive reveals exactly how disruptive allegations of sexual misconduct in the ballet were—and how the responses of its dancers are revolutionizing the institution. New York Times
• Huh? Here's a weird one: an EgyptAir in-flight magazine ran an "interview" with Drew Barrymore that said, among other things, that Barrymore "has been subconsciously seeking attention and care from a male figure; but unfortunately things do not always go as planned, and she has not yet succeeded in any relationship for various reasons." The absurd quality of the interview seems to be in part a translation issue—but Barrymore's team says she never participated. Former Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Aida Takla O’Reilly, however, claimed authorship of the interview and said it was genuine. Either way, the piece is worth a read for its sheer level of mind-boggling insanity. Variety
ON MY RADAR
7 women on Muslim representation in fashion The Cut
Searching for the meaning of womanhood in white, blue-collar America The New Yorker
5 lessons in feminist art from the Brooklyn Museum The Cut