IBM Earnings, Melissa McCarthy, India #MeToo: Broadsheet October 18
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! A government official resigns over sexual assault allegations in India, Native Americans aren’t pleased with Elizabeth Warren, and legendary lawyer Robbie Kaplan further cements her spot in the #MeToo movement. Have a terrific Thursday.
• #MeToo lawyers up. Most people know attorney Roberta Kaplan from her history-making turn representing Edith Windsor in United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court case that stuck down DOMA and legalized gay marriage. Some may recognize her from her work representing 12 people who were injured or otherwise affected by the white supremacists who descended on Charlottesville, Va., last August. But she is also playing a major role in yet another defining social movement of our time: #MeToo.
Kaplan, a founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, will defend Moira Donegan, the creator of the so-called Shitty Media Men list, who is being sued by Stephen Elliott, one of the men named in the now-famous Google doc.
The lawyer tells the New York Times that, given the strength of New York’s defamation laws, Elliott’s case is very unlikely to hold up against a motion to dismiss. Her conclusion: “One can only surmise that the point of the lawsuit is to do something else, and again, my assumption is that the something else is to try to discourage other women from coming forward,” she said.
Kaplan says it’s important to her not just to represent those who are making sexual harassment accusations, but also “to defend women in efforts that have been undertaken to stop women from speaking.” In addition to Donegan, she represented Melanie Kohler, who was sued by director Brett Ratner after she accused him of sexual assault in a Facebook post—a suit that Kaplan argued was intended to intimidate women who spoke out more generally.
She also defended Columbia University in a lawsuit filed by Paul Nungesser, who sued the school for supporting Emma Sulkowicz, a fellow student who accused him of rape. And, in something of a full circle moment, Nungesser was represented by Andrew Miltenberg, the same lawyer who is representing Elliot in his suit against Donegan. New York Times
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• #IndiaToo. Barely two weeks after the #MeToo movement lit a fuse in India, junior foreign minister MJ Akbar has resigned from his government post. The high-profile former newspaper editor was accused of sexual assault and harassment by several women. Akbar denied the claims and filed a defamation suit against the first woman who accused him, journalist Priya Ramani. BBC
• Big Blue's blues. IBM, led by CEO Ginni Rometty, had a tough earnings report. The company's stock fell the most it has in four years after IBM missed revenue estimates. Rometty's turnaround plan, putting resources behind cloud technologies and artificial intelligence, now faces questions. Bloomberg
• Unisex works. U.K. online-only clothing brand ASOS, meanwhile, posted strong earnings yesterday—and a big reason was the brand's move into genderless fashion. ASOS has been selling clothing that's not categorized as for men or for women, and it's appealing to customers, especially Gen Z shoppers. Bloomberg
• Naming names. North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp took out newspaper ads featuring an open letter signed by 100 women decrying her Republican opponent Kevin Cramer's insensitivity toward survivors of sexual assault. (He's called #MeToo a "movement toward victimization.") The only problem? Some women whose names appeared say they didn't agree to having their identities revealed, and others who were portrayed as victims of sexual assault say they are not. Politico
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Judith Carr-Rodriguez was promoted to CEO of the former Figliulo & Partners, which is rebranding as FIG.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Suburban blue wave? The majority of white women vote Republican. But the subset of college-educated white women who make up suburban districts is starting to go blue, favoring Democrats by a margin of almost 30 points in 59 hotly contested House districts. BuzzFeed News
• 100 to watch. Ebony's annual Power 100 is out, and features Zoe Kravitz, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Tarana Burke, Cardi B, Stacey Abrams and a host of other women worth checking out. Ebony
• Ancestry isn't everything. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren tested her DNA to prove Native American ancestry to fight back against President Trump's questioning of her claim to it and his derogatory nickname "Pocahontas." Warren, however, has ignited more problems through that effort. Her DNA test, many have pointed out, fuels retrograde ideas about DNA's significance and non-Native people laying claim to Native American heritage. Vox
• 'The stories of our abuelas.' For Latinx Heritage Month, a dozen staffers and readers at Refinery29 shared family stories about their abuelas. "What we found were stories of unconditional love: From taking us in when our parents couldn't and being the firsts to accept our sexual orientations, to making us sopa de gallina even when their arthritis got in the way and slathering our chests with Vicks Vaporub when we were sick," they wrote. Refinery29
ON MY RADAR
The dawn of television promised diversity. Here's why we got 'Leave It to Beaver' instead Smithsonian Magazine
Tiffany Haddish: ‘My career is a delicious roasted chicken’ New York Times
Meet the fearless CEO who took over a multi-million dollar kefir company in her 20s The Kitchn
Do celebrities of color have an obligation to wear minority designers on the red carpet? Vox