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Michelle Obama, Voter Suppression, Deciem: Broadsheet October 12

October 12, 2018, 10:37 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Michelle Obama launches the Global Girls Alliance, voter suppression takes center stage in Stacey Abrams’s Georgia governor race, and we get a terrifying window into how good intentions can go wrong. Have a relaxing weekend.


What More Than Me knew. This ProPublica and Time investigation of More Than Me, an American charity that aims to provide education to girls in Liberia, is not an easy read—but I urge you to give it your time and attention.

Founded by American Katie Meyler—whom Time named as a Person of the Year in 2014 —the nonprofit began as a single school. MTM ultimately went on to raise more than $8 million and became a cause celeb of Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and the Obama White House. But while Meyler and her backers talked about helping and protecting these girls, the man who led recruitment for the nonprofit's schools and programs, Macintosh Johnson, was raping them.

Writer Finlay Young's meticulous reporting finds that MTM leaders established policies (or a lack thereof) that enabled Johnson. And, when his actions did come to light, the organization failed to act quickly and seriously to protect its students, and refused to be transparent about what had occurred—including attempts to smear Young and kill his story.

The final words of the story are absolutely devastating. After repeatedly refusing to engage with Young, MTM's leadership at last sat down with the reporter, though they continued to insist that they didn't understand the need for the story or why it focused on the 2014 discovery that Johnson was raping students and how that information was handled by the institution. Young attempted to clarify:

“'What we’re writing,' I said, 'is to establish the truth of what happened in relation to these girls.'

[MTM board member] Saul Garlick asked, 'What’s the point of that, in your view?'"  ProPublica

Editor's Note: This essay has been updated to reflect a correction to the ProPublica/Time story. The final quote was said by Saul Garlick, not Katie Borghese.


 Out of the running. Goldman Sachs exec Dina Powell is no longer a candidate to succeed Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the UN. She reportedly withdrew her name from contention, citing a desire to remain close to her young children. Aides to Donald Trump, who'd named Powell has his top choice, are still urging the president to appoint a woman to the post as a way to appease female voters before the midterms. Politico

Back to school. In the White House, girls' education was one of Michelle Obama's highest priorities, and she's not letting the cause slide. Through the Obama Foundation, the former first lady is launching the Global Girls Alliance, a network to support nonprofits already working to increase girls' access to education worldwide. Announced on International Day of the Girl, the alliance will support a GoFundMe that will be distributed to others doing this work.  Fortune

 Actresses take action. The U.K. counterpart to Time's Up—the Justice and Equality Fund backed by Emma Watson, Keira Knightley, and Jodie Whittaker—has distributed more than £1 million to women's groups across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.  BBC

Putting her money where her work is. Nadia Murad won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work as an activist on behalf of women who have suffered sexual violence and human trafficking. Murad, a Yazidi woman who was captured by ISIS in 2014, will donate her $500,000 prize to her charity, which helps women and ethnic minorities in Iraq.  The Hill

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: CBS promoted Laurie Rosenfield to chief people officer as the network navigates its post-Les Moonves culture and investigation. Joanna Coles, formerly of Hearst, joins CBS This Morning as a creative advisor.


Midterm mayhem. Voter suppression in Georgia is becoming an even more serious issue in the race for governor between Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams. Kemp, the current Georgia secretary of state overseeing voting systems, is accused of suppressing 53,000 voter registrations, largely belonging to black voters. Associated Press

More than office gossip. The hearings confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court have reverberated across the American workplace. Companies are adapting to news that "feels different" from any political water-cooler chat we've seen before—and it's affecting how employees interact at work.  Wall Street Journal

Short story. Fahmi Quadir is known for betting against the former Valeant Pharmaceuticals at its peak—the renamed company is now trading at 90% below its 2015 high. Now Quadir, founder of the fund Safkhet Capital, expects a dramatic drop for Tesla. Bloomberg

Not an ordinary CEO. Have you been following the drama over at Deciem? The parent company for the hot skincare brand The Ordinary, famous for its $6 serums, has been led by the volatile Brandon Truaxe, known for mysterious and unsettling posts on his company's Instagram account (he's claimed that "almost everyone at Deciem has been involved in major criminal activity"). Now Estée Lauder, which owns a minority stake in the company, is suing Deciem to oust Truaxe and replace him with his co-CEO Nicola Kilner. Wall Street Journal

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


Will #SquatForChange finally bring diaper changing tables to men's bathrooms?  MEL Magazine

What 18 looks like around the world—through girls' eyes  New York Times

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat's Samin Nosrat is a new kind of domestic goddess   The Cut

Which types of companies are adding women to their boards—and which aren't?  Harvard Business Review


I want a cushion—a cushy seat—and a sense that I have value and I’m allowed to stay.
Sarah Paulson on finding a seat at the table